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LaMelo Ball, NBA Draft

How LaMelo Ball went from Big Baller afterthought to the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft

Youngest of three basketball-playing brothers, LaMelo Ball has risen to prominence under the eyes of an ever-watchful world of social media. You may not be a fan of his father or the Big Baller Brand, but there is no denying the fact that LaMelo is a talented player. And now, after being selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Chino Hills native will embark on what he hopes will be a fruitful career in the NBA.

 

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Simply put, LaMelo has basketball running through his veins. In fact, video footage that was recently released shows the crafty guard with a ball in his hands at three years of age. He wasn’t shooting at a pint-sized hoop, though. The video shows that he was shooting on a 10-foot rim.

Ball’s official rise to fame began in his high school days. While playing alongside his brothers, Lonzo and LeAngelo, at Chino Hills High School in California, he won a state championship as a freshman. He also scored 92 points in a victory over Los Osos during this time frame. However, LaMelo left Chino Hills prior to his junior season due to an alleged coaching dispute.

Ball then went on to enjoy a productive stint with Prienai, which is a Lithuanian professional team. He returned to high school as a senior, but he wouldn’t be playing in Southern California. Instead, he joined SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, where he recorded 20 points, 13 assists and five rebounds in his debut. And though he helped his team reach the finals, he was ruled ineligible for the 2019 McDonald’s All-American Game due to his professional experience in Lithuania.

After his stint with SPIRE, Ball made his way to Australia, where he played for the Illarawa Hawks of the National Basketball League. His father, LaVar, was making headlines in the media for his outlandish takes, but the youngest brother remained focused on honing his craft.

LaMelo played 12 games with Illarawa. His most notable outing came in an overtime victory over the Cairns Taipans. At 18 years of age, he racked up 32 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. As a result, he became the youngest player in NBL history to record a triple-double. Unfortunately, a bruised bone in his left foot sent him back to the U.S. From there, he would begin his preparations for the 2020 NBA Draft.

Ball committed to play for UCLA at the age of 13. He was to follow in his brothers’ footsteps, but that notion never came to pass. Instead, LaMelo will now suit up in the NBA, but he won’t be wearing Big Baller Brand shoes. The youngest of the Ball brothers decided to go in a different direction, instead signing a shoe deal with Puma in October. He became the first of the Ball family to sign an endorsement deal outside of BBB.

“Puma was a good fit because they tie basketball, music, and fashion so well together and will allow me to really bring my creative vision to life,” Ball said, via complex.com.

For years, LaMelo stood in the shadow of his brothers. Most notably, Lonzo, who is now playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. Now, however, Ball the younger gets to prove why he deserved to be the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.