As the oldest of 3 siblings, Lonzo Ball, suits up to face off against the Knicks at MSG, a much bigger story has developed within the past couple of hours with the announcement of both LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball having signed professional contracts to play basketball overseas. After a week of exploring potential landing spots, the pair settled on 1-year contracts with Vytautas Prienai of the first-division Lithuanian league and will report to the team in January. With LaMelo being just 16 years old, it will not only mean that he is the youngest player to ever have his own signature shoe, but will also effectively make him the youngest player to play professionally overseas. The deals in place are not particularly lucrative, as each Ball brother is likely to make the going rate for pro ballers in the area (roughly $500 a month), but more importantly, it will be interesting to see how much the club will look to develop the tandem.
The Ball brothers are not expected to see major playing time for Prienu Vytautas in the Lithuanian (LKL) league, but could be afforded an opportunity to develop in the Baltic (BBL) League, where the stakes are much lower. The club must decide whether to pull the trigger first. https://t.co/XIihTVnZMD
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) December 11, 2017
The situation that the Ball brothers will most likely find themselves in is not one that they are remotely accustomed to in the states. Here the brothers enjoy a life of celebrity, with the internet buzzing over every game, and fans packing the various pop-ups that the family has across the country to promote the brand. In Prienai, there will be no such glitz and glamour, as the brothers will be foreigners amongst a small village of 10,000 or so and an arena that houses no more than 1,500 patrons. Whether they’ll be able to get substantial playing time from coach Virginijus Šeškus remains to be seen. That being said, if there’s any chance of the journey being televised or documented by Facebook’s own Ball in the Family webseries, it will without a doubt be a must watch event.
Here’s to hoping LaMelo and LiAngelo live up to the hype and BallisLife reaches international borders.