(ESPN) – Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has severed ties with a co-founder of Big Baller Brand over concerns that the longtime family friend has a criminal past and also has not adequately accounted for the whereabouts of roughly $1.5 million from Ball’s personal and business accounts.
Ball told ESPN that he believes that Alan Foster, a friend of Lonzo’s father for almost a decade who owns 16.3 percent of Big Baller Brand, had “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”
According to documents and emails reviewed by ESPN, questions about Foster’s business decisions and communication were first raised last fall to Lonzo and LaVar by Lonzo’s financial adviser. That adviser, Humble Lukanga of Life Line Financial Group, alleged in an October email that Lonzo’s personal taxes and Big Baller’s taxes could not be completed on time due to an inability to account for the whereabouts of $1.5 million.
In perhaps the least shocking news of all time, Big Baller Brand may not be the most lucrative business endeavor to have ever graced the planet. I’ll let you collect yourself and take a seat before continuing reading after learning such mind-boggling information. The Ball family has been had, and Lonzo’s year of hell takes yet another large blow.
The funniest part is LaVar outright refusing to read over Lonzo’s email over, again, $1.5 MILLION MISSING FOR MONTHS.
Sources close to the Ball family told ESPN that Lonzo expressed his concerns about Foster to his father several times over the past few months but deferred to LaVar to manage the situation.
It wasn’t until this week, the same sources said, that LaVar fully reviewed the email warnings and documents from Lukanga, as he had been traveling overseas with his younger sons in the fall. The sources described LaVar as “stunned” when the emails and documents were read to him. LaVar declined comment but issued a statement to ESPN calling the situation “devastating.”
That’s a level of procrastination that any of us can relate to. I know I hate checking emails more than absolutely anything. I don’t care how many millions of dollars are on the line, you wont catch me checking emails in a promptly manner any time soon. These weren’t even emails filled with tons of legal jargon in need of parsing through to make heads or tails of the situation. Lonzo’s financial adviser put this shit square in the subject line.
In an October email sent to Lonzo and his father under the subject line “Urgent – $1.5 million Dollars Missing,” Lukanga wrote that he had been unsuccessful in having Foster “track down where $1.5 MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH HAS [gone].” Lukanga wrote that he had repeatedly asked Foster about transactions totaling that amount, but Foster “won’t show any invoices or documentation of these expenses. He won’t even give me the number to the vendors he says he paid. I’VE NEVER SEEN A COMPANY OPERATE BY WITHDRAWING MILLIONS IN CASH … Only you and Alan can withdraw cash and I know you didn’t take out $1.5 million dollars … SO WHERE IS THE MONEY???”
Alan Foster had this con planned out for YEARS. He was released from prison in 2010 for a separate, completely unrelated money laundering scheme he had cooked up and then met LaVar upon his release in February. Once he realized Lonzo was a real live NBA prospect a few years down the road, he started gassing up LaVar. I don’t know LaVar personally, but Big Var certainly seems like the type who if you gas him up just a little bit, you’re his boy for life.
In addition to his work with Big Baller Brand and LaVar’s Junior Basketball Association, a professional league for developing players, Foster appeared in almost every episode of “Ball in the Family.” He was often shown consulting with LaVar on decisions that affected the family or business. In one episode, Foster was shown trying to find out why players from JBA have had trouble collecting on their paychecks.
In an interview with ESPN the Magazine in 2017, LaVar raved about Foster.
“This dude is one of the smartest suckers ever,” LaVar said. “He knows how everything goes. We had shirts made that said ‘Team Ball’ [and] ‘UnbelievaBall.’ And he [Foster] said, ‘LaVar, your creativity is crazy. Let’s create your brand, man. Your brand is bigger than anything. Somebody going to run away with your s—, man.’
“He [Foster] was like, ‘I’ll tell you what. You’re going to put all the work in with your boys. I’ll come back and run the agency. Whatever you need me to do. Let me do it, though.'”
“Yeah hey LaVar you do all the talking and basketballing, I’ll count all the money. Sound good?”
All in all in sucks that Lonzo lost $1.5 million in the short term, long term that money will presumably be back in his possession and this will be a tough business lesson learned and nothing more. But for Big Baller Brand? I can’t imagine how this blurb from the Better Business Bureau helps them any time soon.
According to two sources close to the family, over the past two years, the Lakers, too, expressed concerns to Foster over numerous customer complaints about Big Baller Brand made to the Better Business Bureau, which gave the company a failing grade in 2018. Last year, the bureau reported receiving 184 complaints over the past three years, mostly involving problems sending correct merchandise, shipping orders on time, and not providing information or responding to questions about delivery status.
“They still have an F with us,” Blair Looney, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central California and Inland Empire Counties, told ESPN in January. “We are continuing to work with them on straightening things out.”
I’ve never heard of a company with a straight up F from the Better Business Bureau. I didn’t think you were allowed to call yourself a company with anything less than like a B-. In fact I don’t even think I knew there was a real grading scale at play here. Like I thought it was more of a Pass Fail system like a college class you take for credits without fucking with your GPA. The BBB telling BBB they’re an F and have been for the entirety of their existence is without question the worst news to come out of this for Lonzo. At least his financial advisor is on top of his game.