NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — College hoops star Lonzo Ball is making big moves before he’s even been drafted.
The UCLA guard announced the release of his new shoe at a whopping $495. CBS2’s Steve Overymyer spoke with some local experts about their reaction to the hefty price tag.
If you want to gauge the pulse of new products, talk to the experts of the high priced shoe market — called sneakerheads.
“$495, I wouldn’t pay that personally,” 17-year-old Enoc Ferreiras said. “My parents would kill me if I paid that much. They’d think I’m crazy.”
The Lonzo Ball shoe starts at $495 and goes up to $1,200 with a signature included. It’s the highest priced shoe for a basketball player ever, even more than Jordans.
“The sneaker game is quite interesting because people can pay up to $1,500 to $2,000 on the resale market,” head buyer from the boutique streetwear shop Extra Butter Jude Sainjour tells CBS2.
The shoe is said to have the latest technology in the soles and covered in hard-to-get python skin. In addition to being just a basketball shoe, its positioning itself as a fashion shoe.
“For the regular baller they want something sparkly and zip,” sneakerhead George Leong said. “So it’s clean for a regular sneakerhead, but for fashion it’s all there.”
Every player in the NBA has an endorsement deal of some sort. Ball was even offered a $2 million per year deal. Instead, he opted to work alone and built his own shoe. If successful, it could change the sneaker game.
“He needs to do something significant in the NBA for this to be successful,” Ferreiras said.
In other words, Ferreiras says, his success on the court will dictate the success of the shoe.
“You don’t get what you want,” Sainjour said. “You get what you demand, so you set the bar high and see what the market dictates.”
Ball’s father LaVar’s Big Baller Brand unveiled the ZO2 Prime on Thursday and is taking pre-orders on its website. The black sneaker accented in gold is described as “meticulously developed at every stage by Lonzo Ball.” The listing says the shoes will ship by Nov. 24. Buyers may be out of luck if the shoes don’t fit. The listing says there will be no refunds or exchanges.
The price tag has prompted criticism from some, including Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
LaVar Ball answered his critics on Twitter , writing: “If you can’t afford the ZO2’S, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!”
To make the $2 million he passed on by not signing with a company, Ball will need to sell 4,000 pairs of the nearly $500 shoe. His father says they’ve already sold 500 pairs — but an online sales tracker revealed it’s more like 200 pairs.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)