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LISTEN: Lonzo Ball freestyles over Drake’s ‘Free Smoke’ beat

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Lonzo Ball’s signature shoes aren’t the only thing named “ZO2”.

It’s also the name that Ball raps under.

And he’s actually pretty good. Rapping over Drake’s ‘Free Smoke’ beat, his best line, given what’s dominated headlines in recent weeks, in his line “I be ballin’ like I’m sponsored.”

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Lonzo rap. In a spoof video that he did with ESPN, Ball spit a few bars while trying to prove to LiDicky that he isn’t the best rapper in the family:

Report: Less than 300 Big Baller Brand shoes were sold on first day

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Over the weekend, rumors swirled that the Ball family had netted themselves a seven-figure payday, selling upwards of 5,000 pairs of Lonzo Ball’s new, signature Big Baller Brand shoe, the ZO2.

That probably isn’t true.

The sneakerheads over at NiceKicks.com did the legwork, tracking invoice numbers — staffers there not only bought a pair of ZO2s, but they also snagged a pair of BBB shorts — and inventory levels to determine that the real number of shoes sold in the first day that the ZO2s were on sale was probably less than 300.

From Nice Kicks:

Out of the 328 transactions that happened on BigBallerBrand.com in the first 24 hours that the shoes were offered for sale, we tracked that a total of just 263 pairs of sneakers had sold in both signed and unsigned versions of the ZO2 Prime.

While we have no access to sales receipts, transactions or traffic data, we have been monitoring the inventory levels of the footwear listed on BigBallerBrand.com. After noting the initial product levels at the start and deducting the current units sold, we can confidently say that 210 pairs of unsigned ZO2 Primes had sold (103 pairs in sz 8.5 alone), along with 53 autographed ZO2 Primes.

By their count, the Ball family did a little more than $150,000 in total revenue in their first day in business.

That’s not bad, and it’s a nice little pool of cash to get their operation up and running, but it’s not millions and it’s certainly not, as LaVar Ball likes to put it, “about them B’s — billions.”

Where BBB goes from here will be fascinating. Personally, I’m rooting for the Ball family. I respect the hustle and the ambition, and I think that LaVar himself is pure comedy. But with the amount of attention that he got when this shoe was finally released last Thursday — Darren Rovell said on The Dan Le Betard Show that the social traction he got was worth $50 million in advertising — it’s not a great sign that he was only able to move 263 pairs.

Report: Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. to sign with an agent

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Archie Miller is losing a third underclassmen to the professional ranks.

James Blackmon Jr., who averaged 17.3 points for the Hoosiers as a junior, will not be returning to school. He is signing with an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft. Blackmon is not projected as a first round pick and there is a good possibility that he will end up going undrafted on June 22nd.

The news was first reported by FanRag Sports.

Blackmon joins sophomores O.G. Anunoby and Thomas Bryant in signing with an agent. Robert Johnson, another junior, has declared for the draft but has yet to make a decision on whether or not he will hire an agent.

Blackmon, to his credit, received his degree from Indiana over the weekend.

NBA Official NBA Draft Combine Invite List

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Here is the full list of the 67 players that were invited and will take part in the NBA Draft combine in Chicago next week. According to Draft Express, there were ten players that were invited but will not participate in the event. They are: Lonzo Ball, Isaiah Hartenstein, Jonathan Isaac, Josh Jackson, Rodions Kurucs, Lauri Markkanen, Malik Monk, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Jayson Tatum.

The full list of invitees:

Bam Adebayo, Kentucky
Rawle Alkins, Arizona
Jarrett Allen, Texas
Kadeem Allen, Arizona
Ike Anigbogu, UCLA
O.G. Anunoby, Indiana
Jamel Artis, Pittsburgh
Dwayne Bacon, Florida State
V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame
Jordan Bell, Oregon
Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Chris Boucher, Oregon
Tony Bradley, North Carolina
Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky
Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Thomas Bryant, Indiana
John Collins, Wake Forest
Zach Collins, Gonzaga
Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky
Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
Damyean Dotson, Houston
P.J. Dozier, South Carolina
Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State
Terrance Ferguson, Adelaide (AUS)
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
Markelle Fultz, Washington
Harry Giles, Duke
Josh Hart, Villanova
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
Isaiah Hicks, North Carolina
Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State
Frank Jackson, Duke
Justin Jackson, North Carolina
Justin Jackson, Maryland
Jonathan Jeanne, Nancy (France)
Peter Jok, Iowa
Andrew Jones, Texas
Luke Kennard, Duke
Kyle Kuzma, Utah
T.J. Leaf, UCLA
Tyler Lydon, Syracuse
Frank Mason III Kansas
Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
Eric Mika, BYU
Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
Monte’ Morris, Iowa State
Johnathan Motley, Baylor
Svi Mykhailiuk, Kansas
Semi Ojeleye, SMU
Cameron Oliver, Nevada
Justin Patton, Creighton
Alec Peters, Valparaiso
Ivan Rabb, California
Davon Reed, Miami (FL)
Devin Robinson, Florida
Kobi Simmons, Arizona
Edmond Sumner, Xavier
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
Melo Trimble, Maryland
Moritz Wagner, Michigan
Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan
Thomas Welsh, UCLA
Derrick White, Colorado
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
D.J. Wilson, Michigan
Omer Yurtseven, North Carolina St.

Donovan Mitchell to sign with an agent, remain in the NBA Draft

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Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell announced on Friday evening that he has decided to sign with an agent and remain in the NBA Draft.

“I have decided to forego my junior season and stay in the 2017 NBA Draft,” Mitchell announced in a post on Instagram. “I want to thank Card Nation for a great two years. I want to thank all the coaches from Coach Arjay to Coach Smith and everyone on the Louisville staff for helping me become the man that I am today.”

Mitchell averaged 15.6 points and 2.7 assists as a sophomore, although he spent the majority of his time playing off the ball this past season. But he’s a terrific athlete with outstanding physical tools that projects as an excellent defender at the next level. As he adds playmaking and perimeter shooting consistency to his game, he’ll only get better.

The bigger issue in these parts is that Mitchell’s absence is a brutal blow for Louisville, who had been the No. 1 team in the NBC Sports preseason top 25. Without Mitchell, the Cardinals are losing a preseason all-american and one of the few guys on their roster that had the ability to create his own offense.

Ball family will not wear Lonzo’s Big Baller Brand shoes at UCLA

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One of the interesting subplots of the Ball family launching their own apparel company, headlined by Thursday’s announcement of Lonzo’s $495 signature ZO2 shoe, is whether or not the younger Balls — LiAngelo, who enrolls at UCLA next season, and LaMelo, who is in the Class of 2019 — will wear the shoes at UCLA.

And the simple answer is ‘No’.

Starting this season, UCLA will be getting paid nearly $19-million a year for the next 15 years — roughly $280 million in total — by Under Armour to have their logo prominently located on every piece of athletic apparel they wear. Basketball shoes, football jerseys, softball helmets, batting gloves, swimming speedos.

Everywhere.

Read through the contract if you don’t believe me. It states that where “UCLA’s teams require athletic and athleisure apparel and footwear” that, as long as Under Armour is a “supplier of such products, and wishes to provide [UCLA] such products” that they are legally allowed to do so on “an exclusive basis” to “obtain recognition for its support of UCLA’s intercollegiate athletic teams.”

In layman’s terms: We’re paying you all this money so your teams can be a living, breathing advertisement for the cool stuff we want to sell.

Regardless of how good LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball end up being, they are going to be the most well-known players on UCLA’s roster while they are there. (You can thank LaVar Ball for that.) You think that Under Armour, who is paying $19-million a year for the publicity that comes with sponsoring the Bruin basketball team, is going to let those kids walk around in anything other than Under Armour shoes?

This is wrong, mind you.

The Ball family should be able to capitalize on that marketability themselves. If they’re not getting their own shoe contracts, they should at least be getting a cut of that money going straight into their bank account, not given to them as a scholarship that they have little use for. Amateurism in the NCAA is stupid.

But that’s a different argument for a different day.

These are the rules.

This is how the game works.

And the bottom line is that the Ball family will be decked out in Under Armour when they are playing for UCLA.