Markelle Fultz is almost certainly going to be the first overall pick at this Thursday’s NBA Draft, with the Sixers having traded up with Boston for the pick in a blockbuster deal over the weekend. As with most surefire top picks, Fultz has already inked a deal with an athleticwear company; last week, he signed a multiyear deal with Nike:
Potential No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has agreed to a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike, source tells @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 16, 2017
As with all these prospects, Fultz had multiple companies courting him, but it might come as a surprise to learn which other company Fultz was considering, if only briefly:
Lonzo and LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand.
That’s according to this report from The Washington Post, which says Fultz did indeed consider that option, if only briefly:
In an exchange relayed by The Post’s Babb, the young prospect discussed the idea with his trainer, Keith Williams:
Williams: You sure you don’t want to sign with them?
Fultz: I was thinking about it, but then I would make him money, though.
Williams: Or lose them more money.
[Babb asks if there was serious consideration for Team Fultz to join Big Baller Brand]
Fultz: I don’t know, honestly.
Williams: I don’t think they’ve got money to sign nobody.
Can you imagine if this had happened? The two players have been semi-rivals, although they haven’t exactly been head-to-head, aside from one regular season Pac-12 game last year where they finished with similar stats. Ball has only worked out for the Lakers, while Fultz has made a few different visits throughout the pre-draft process, but he’s going to the Sixers now anyway.
Of course, the idea of Big Baller Brand, at this stage (or, let’s be honest, any stage in the future) having the money to compete for non-family members just sounds absurd. They could always potentially offer equity, but it’s difficult to compete with a company like Nike. Why would a prospect hitch their respective marketing wagon to an unproven brand run by a guy who talks and acts like LaVar Ball?
Still, it’s amusing to consider the potential, as it was amusing to see Fultz ponder then reject the idea out of a desire to not want to make an opponent money.