LeBron James is proud of Lonzo Ball.
The Lakers guard cut ties with Big Baller Brand co-owner Alan Foster last weekend after about $1.5 million from Ball’s personal and business accounts was unaccounted for, according to ESPN. Ball later hinted at a possible move to Nike on Instagram.
James praised his teammate during an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“I love the fact that he’s taking control of his (stuff),” James said. “I mean, he’s, that’s what’s really, really dope to me. Once I saw that story I just seen a kid turning into a man. ‘This is my career and I’m taking this. I done had enough with — whatever. I done had enough. Whatever. If I’m not going to be successful, I’m not going to be successful on my terms.’ I saw a lot of that. We’ll see.
“I’m more proud of him because I like the fact that he’s taking command of his (stuff).”
James said Ball’s situation is similar to some of the things he went through when he entered the NBA.
“That’s the toughest thing, especially when you’re young like Zo, like myself coming into the league,” James said. “You have to trust someone because we don’t know. You have to trust someone. And you hope that you’re guided the right way. That’s all you can do. That’s all you can hope for. When it’s not what you expect, it hurts. I know.”
Foster has been friends with Ball’s father, LaVar, another co-founder of Big Baller Brand, for more than 10 years, according to ESPN.
“This has been a very difficult decision as I had a great deal of love and respect for Alan,” the second-year player said in a statement to ESPN. “But the time has come for me to take responsibility for my own career both on and off the court.”
Ball has been out since late January with an ankle injury and is not expected to return this season. He’s averaging 9.9 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 32.9 percent from 3-point range in 2018-19.
The Lakers have been eliminated from playoff contention and enter play Monday with a 32-41 record.