NBA

Must be the shoes: Ball flourishes while wearing Nikes

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball put his best foot forward on Wednesday while wearing Nike Kobe AD sneakers and not those of the Big Baller Brand.

Ball recorded 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks in the Los Angeles Lakers' 103-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas Summer League action.

The second overall pick of the 2017 draft put on a show by making 12 of 22 shots from the field, with Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in attendance.

As for his choice of the purple footwear, which differs from the line that his father, LaVar, is marketing for a robust $495 a pair ...

"Um, you know, Mamba mentality," the 19-year-old Ball said. "Thought I'd switch it up.

"... Like I said, you can wear whatever you want when you play with Big Baller Brand ... and it is just nice to get out there and do that."

LaVar Ball said his son's decision to wear Nikes was a personal choice and has nothing to do with any negotiations with the world's largest shoe and apparel company.

"Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it's OK with the NBA," LaVar Ball told ESPN by text early Thursday morning. "This is what being independent is all about."

James also noticed the switch, posting a picture on Instagram with the message "Just. Do. It." James is a Nike spokesman and has a lifetime deal with the company.

Furkan Korkmaz scored 19 points for the 76ers, who were playing without Markelle Fultz (ankle), the player drafted before Ball.

Updated July 13, 2017

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