Several NBA players have found successful side careers as businessmen after or, in rarer cases, during their basketball careers. But one up-and-coming phenom is already making some pretty hefty business negotiations before he's even been drafted.
LaMelo Ball, the youngest son in the well known basketball family, has purchased the Illawarra Hawks, the team he has played for over the past year and just left to pursue an NBA career. The 18-year-old, along with his manager Jermaine Jackson, announced that they "own the team" in a "done deal" with NBL executives (via ESPN).
This news comes less than a day after Ball expressed interest in buying the team, as noted by USA Today writer Jacob Rude, who also mentions the unprecedented nature of such a move.
Mega stars like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan own partial stakes of a team or entire organizations, but it's safe to say that they're a little bit wealthier and more experienced than the 18-year-old in question.
While LaVar Ball has often been cited for his ridiculous claims surrounding the talent of his sons, this is a decision that seems to be made without his father's direction. Ball turned into a superstar in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) and the fans "opened their arms to him" according to Jackson. Amid financial troubles, Jackson also stated that Ball would be focusing on his NBA career but would make sure a great team was overseeing activity in Australia to help the league succeed.
Still, you'd have to think that LaVar's entrepreneurial influence played a part in this, seeing as he founded the popular shoe company Big Baller Brand for his three sons.
In our latest NBA mock draft here on RADIO.COM Sports, Dan Mennella saw LaMelo Ball going first overall to the Atlanta Hawks in order to add a reliable backcourt option alongside Trae Young on an exciting team. Though he's not a lock to be the top pick or even a top-three pick, his international career did wonders to boost his draft stock.
In 12 games with the Illawarra Hawks, Ball averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.