The Alan Foster situation is some time behind us, but the impact it had on Lonzo Ball, LaVar Ball, and the Big Baller Brand remains relevant today.
At the time, Triple-B found itself in another national controversy. But this time, they were the victims.
Renouncing ties with Alan Foster, Lonzo Ball publically ended a long-time friendship and partnership with one of his dad’s best friends.
Foster had a strong relationship with the Balls dating way back in 2010. Lonzo and Foster’s son became friends in seventh grade, which paved the way for LaVar and Alan’s partnership.
LaVar always praised Alan in the past. Just read to what he had to say about Alan in his 2017 interview for ESPN The Magazine:
“This dude is one of the smartest suckers ever. He knows how everything goes. We had shirts made that said ‘Team Ball’ [and] ‘UnbelievaBall.’ He 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.’
But then Lonzo Ball got suspicious. His financial advisor, Humble Lukanga, first raised concerns about Foster’s business decisions and communications in the fall of 2018. Lukanga claimed the personal taxes of Ball and business taxes of Big Baller Brand could not be completed on time because they failed to account for $1.5 million of earned income.
Lukanga dug even deeper, saying he had repeatedly asked Foster about transactions, and it got ridiculous. This was an actual business email Lukanga sent to Lonzo and Lavar:
“[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???”
The FBI began investigating “whether Foster defrauded the Ball family out of millions of dollars” in 2019, according to the LA Times.
At first, you can’t help but feel sorry for Lavar and Lonzo for being taken advantage of. But there are some things you (And even the Balls) didn’t know about Alan Foster.
Lonzo found out about Alan’s past trouble with the law when a news reporter brought it up in an interview after he fired the co-founder. That’s right: Lonzo had no idea that Foster did seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering, totaling $4 million in fraud.
At the same time, Lonzo Ball’s personal business manager, Darren Moore, alerted Lonzo and Lukanga of additional illegal activity by Foster related to taxable income from the Balls’ popular Facebook Watch reality series, “Ball In the Family.”
Moore told ESPN that despite his best efforts to reach out to Foster to discuss whether related expenses and revenue earned from the web series had been allocated properly, he was unable to get in contact with Foster.
If you’re Lonzo, it makes sense to be mad and fire your dad’s friend. Instead of signing a guaranteed, multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with an established shoe company, he bought into a janky scheme.
So, what did LaVar have to say about all this? From ESPN:
“I’ve always believed in the best in people. Regretfully, I put my complete trust in Alan Foster to manage my son’s business affairs. At the end of the day, family comes first, and I support Zo wholeheartedly. Together, we will make this right.”
If the coffin wasn’t already nailed, Big Baller Brand received a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau in 2018 and The Federal Trade Commission reported an approximate 200 complaints from April 2017 to January of 2019.
However, since this debacle — and fallout from said debacle — happened, LaVar Ball has been attempting to revive the Big Baller Brand as best he can.
That doesn’t mean it won’t eventually return to form and/or grow into a power, but it seems less likely than before. Then again, you can’t put anything past the brand, as there are scores of fans who sincerely enjoy everything BBB related.
In October of 2019, Foster countersued Lonzo and LaVar Ball for “fraudulent concealment and breach of contract.” Foster went on to say that the lawsuit “seeks to set the record straight, clear his name, expose LaVar’s scheme to cover up his theft of over $2.6 million of BBB and BSG’s money, and hold LaVar and Lonzo to their contractual obligations.”
The Ball family refuted the claims in a statement:
“Alan Foster’s claims are not only unfounded and devoid of any truth, but are an egregious attempt to turn the attention away from the millions of dollars that he embezzled from the Ball Family and the Ball Family Business,” the statement read. “Not only will LaVar Ball and his family continue to vigorously pursue their civil action against Foster seeking civil damages, but will also continue to cooperate with law enforcement in order to seek justice for his egregious actions.”