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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
The Big Baller Brand wants to expand, and a representative from the athletic apparel company was in Wilson this week trying to convince Coby White, a UNC signee and the top high school player in the state, to forgo college and join a basketball league the company is creating.
Alan Foster, a business partner at the company created by LaVar Ball, on Thursday visited White at Greenfield School in Wilson, White's mother Bonita said.
"They were recruiting Coby not to go overseas," Bonita White said. "They are recruiting 80 players for this particular show. The hook that they are using is you have to wait a year before you go pro, so why go to school and you have the limitations set by the NCAA?"
In December 2017, LaVar announced he was starting the Junior Basketball Association, a men's professional league that was designed to be an alternative to the NCAA and college basketball. It would allow the top high school prospects to play professionally right out of high school. The league, which has not been finalized, plans to have eight teams in four U.S. cities. Players who participate in the league would no longer be eligible to play college basketball, based on NCAA rules. Facebook will sponsor the league and the JBA will be one of Big Baller Brand's upcoming reality shows. That's what led them to Coby White.
Bonita White said the company told her Coby White could play one year in the JBA and then go pro.
"I told them, and Coby told them, that we're not interested," Bonita said. "In June, Coby will be at Carolina."
Players who participate in the JBA will receive pay, but Bonita wouldn't even let the conversation get to that point.
"I never let him get that far," Bonita said. "When he said the months were from June to October, we let him know that we were not interested."
When Ball announced the league, he said players' salaries would range from $3,000 to $10,000 per month for the season, and that the league would be fully funded by Big Baller Brand.
Coby White signed with UNC in November. He is No. 2 player in the state and the third best shooting guard in the nation, according to 247Sports. In December, he broke the record for most points scored in three games (119) at the John Wall Holiday Invitational. Last month, he made the East Team roster of the 2018 McDonald's All-American Game being played in Atlanta on March. 28. On Jan. 27, he passed JamesOn Curry for the most points scored in North Carolina prep history (3,307).
Big Baller Brand was founded in 2016 by Ball. The brand started by selling sportswear marketed by LaVar's sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Lonzo played one season at UCLA before he was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, selected by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The family made headlines last fall when LaVar pulled his sons LaMelo, 16, out of high school, and LiAngelo, 19, out of UCLA to play professional basketball overseas in the Lithuanian Basketball League.
LiAngelo was arrested for shoplifting in China in November and suspended indefinitely from the Bruins once he returned to the United States. The family also has a reality show on Facebook.
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