Rick Rycroft/Associated Press
ESPN’s Nick DePaula reported it’s a multiyear deal.
“Puma’s been making waves since their comeback to basketball, not just on the court but for the culture,” Ball told Mike DeStefano of Complex. “They’re doing big things and are the new wave of hoops.”
The 19-year-old point guard becomes the first Ball brother to sign an endorsement deal outside of the family’s Big Baller Brand and joins a growing Puma Basketball roster that also includes rising stars such as the Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton, Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. and New York Knicks’ RJ Barrett.
“Puma was a good fit because they tie basketball, music and fashion so well together and will allow me to really bring my creative vision to life,” Ball told DeStefano. “I don’t want to give too much away, but big things are coming. It’s been fun working with the Puma Hoops design team and I’ll just leave it at that.”
The California native has taken a non-traditional route to the NBA. He’s spent time playing professionally in Lithuania with BC Prienai and in Australia with the Illawarra Hawks in recent years.
He showcased his potential across 13 appearances with the Hawks, averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.6 steals before suffering a foot injury that led him to leave Australia in January to begin 2020 draft preparations.
The top of the draft class is far from settled in part because the coronavirus pandemic has so far limited predraft workouts. While his destination is unknown, Ball still has a chance to go first overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves and should land somewhere in the top five.
His brother, Lonzo Ball, was selected with the No. 2 pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. He’s currently a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I’ve just been working out and getting ready for the next step in my career,” LaMelo told Complex. “I’ll be excited to play for any city. It’s been my dream my whole life to play in the NBA, and I’m just excited it’s getting close.”
The draft is scheduled to take place Nov. 18 after being delayed from June because of the pandemic, which didn’t allow the league to crown its champion until Sunday when the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to close out the 2020 NBA Finals.