Ball has experienced lingering leg and ankle problems since the start of his career. The worst came when he had to miss the entirety of the 2022-2023 season. In addition, he's only played in more than 60 games a season once in his six-year career. At the young age of 25, he's already had to undergo three different knee surgeries. It once got so bad, Ball's knee soreness made it hard for him to walk up the stairs.
The Lakers believe all the wear and tear on his knees was caused by one thing: His Big Baller Brand signature sneakers (Zo2).
In an article by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne in 2019, Ball confirmed the Lakers were concerned about his shoes. All he told them was he'd be willing to do “just minor things” to adjust his sneakers if necessary.
Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb also tweeted last May 2023, that the Lakers always believed his injuries were caused by the shoes:
“Lakers believe his initial injury, was caused by his shoes. BBB were complete trash, no R&D like Nikes, just thrown together.”
What was wrong with the Big Baller Brand sneakers?
Ball made history by becoming the first non-professional athlete to have a signature shoe. The Zo2 launched at a retail price of $495 and debuted during Ball's first game in the Summer League. However, it was clear the whole process of manufacturing the sneakers was rushed to accommodate Ball's rise to fame.
In an interview three years later on Josh Hart's LightHarted podcast, Ball revealed the shoes were never ready and that he had to change them every quarter:
“The Zo2s I was playing in, they were not ready, I had to switch them up every quarter because they would just rip,” said Ball.
Over his career, Ball averaged 11.9 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.7 rebounds, but his defense and IQ have definitely been something the Bulls have missed the past two seasons.
Ball ditched his signature shoe by the start of the 2019-20 NBA season and has worn Kobe's ever since. Ball is currently undergoing rehab and a timetable for his return is still questionable. Hopefully, this will be the last we hear of Ball's injuries, and eventually see him back on an NBA court.