LaVar Ball reveals plans for Junior Basketball Association

LaVar Ball, father of Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball, watches the Lakers play the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LaVar Ball is putting the proverbial ball in the court of the best high school basketball players in the United States.

The CEO of Big Baller Brand plans to tackle an inefficiency in the American basketball market by creating the Junior Basketball Association, a league that will pay high school prospects up to $10,000 per month.

At present, the only option for players that finish high school to become professional is to go overseas. The NBA presently has a one-and-done rule, which means high schoolers must finish at least one year of post-secondary education before turning pro. What hurts these players is the fact that the NCAA, despite offering scholarships to some, does not pay their student-athletes as they are considered amateurs.

“With the introduction of the JBA, allowing the NCAA to regulate and control the eligibility status of top basketball prospects will no longer be an issue,” Ball said in a statement shared by SLAM. “There is no need to partake in an institution that claims its purpose is not to help you prepare for your professional career.”

The league is said to comprise of eight teams with 10 players each, and will be hosted across New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Dallas. No venues have been booked as of yet, which indicates that this project still has some ways to go before becoming a reality.

One of the biggest selling points for these prospects, outside of receiving some level of remuneration, will be the format. The rules will follow those of the NBA rather than the NCAA or Europe, with 12-minute quarters and an NBA regulation three-point line. This will allow them to better prepare for the best basketball league in the world, and perhaps even provide themselves a more relevant gauge of how ready they are to make the leap.

The league is expected to be fully funded by the BBB brand, and so players are expected to wear BBB-branded uniforms and shoes.

Lonzo Ball, picked second in the 2017 NBA Draft, will be the face of the league in some ways, as a silhouette of him going up for a dunk will be the logo. Lonzo told the media after the Lakers beat the Rockets Wednesday night that he would probably have take up the JBA option instead of playing for UCLA if it had been available to him.

“If you know you’re going to be a [draft pick], go ahead and get to play versus the top guys in the country and move on with your life.”

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