UCLA v USC

Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty

2020 looks to be a pretty bright year for the Ball Family.

While the 2019-20 NBA season didn’t go as planned and the upcoming draft is still up in the air LaMelo Ball is poised to be one of the top picks. He’ll be joining his brother Lonzo in the league, but he’s also upping his business portfolio. Since he decided to forgo finishing high school and attending college for a year he’s recently been playing in Australia’s National Basketball League and is now purchasing his team.

Yup, that’s right. The youngest Ball injured his foot back in January but he’s fallen in love with his team, the Illawarra Hawks, so much that he and his manager Jermaine Jackson bought them after hearing about its financial issues.

“Melo loves the Illawarra fans,” Jackson told ESPN. “He loves that community. They opened their arms to him. They made us feel like we are at home. When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided, ‘Let’s own the team.’ He is going to be locked into his NBA career, but we are going to hire the right people to oversee everything. He wants to create the best basketball program possible for that community there.”

Ball didn’t buy the team just to flex, he actually wants to make the franchise into a squad the neighborhood can be proud of– and Jackson’s already got some big plans.

“When high school kids hear LaMelo owns the team, they will want to come,” Jackson said. “They’ll know they will be taken care of. We’re going to put the organization on steroids, building it into a program that guys want to play for. I’m in touch with several former NBA GMs that want to go there to help out and high-level coaches that won every championship you can imagine.”

Ball played just 12 games for the Hawks last season, but averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game was enough for him to earn the league’s Rookie of the Year Award.

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