LaMelo Ball, his family’s Big Baller Brand, and global sports company Puma are facing a $200 million lawsuit accusing them of fraud, trademark infringement, and unfair business practices. The legal action was filed in California by Alan Foster, a former friend and business advisor to the Ball family, and co-founder of Big Baller Brand.
Foster claims that he played a crucial role in building the Ball family’s business empire, which capitalized on the basketball skills of the Ball brothers. He asserts that he helped launch the Big Baller Brand with the family in 2016 and assisted LaMelo in debuting his ‘MB1’ signature shoe line in 2017 while he was still in high school.
In late 2021, Puma and LaMelo Ball introduced the Puma MB line, which has been highly successful. They are now on the third iteration of the performance basketball sneaker, the Puma MB.03.
The relationship between Foster and the Ball family turned sour in 2019 when Lonzo Ball, LaMelo’s older brother, cut ties with Alan. Lonzo accused Foster of embezzling money from the company, leading to a lawsuit seeking $2 million in damages. It was revealed that Foster had a history of money laundering. In response, Foster countersued Lavar Ball, accusing him of using company funds for his extravagant lifestyle.
After being removed from Big Baller Brand, Foster alleges that the Ball family created a new entity using trademarks that he had helped establish years earlier, leading to this lawsuit.
The current lawsuit argues that Foster laid the foundation for LaMelo’s commercial success, which skyrocketed after he was drafted by the Hornets in 2020 and received Rookie of the Year and NBA All-Star recognition. According to the lawsuit, Foster’s efforts were crucial to the success and global appeal of Big Baller Brand, and he claims that the trademarks he helped create are now worth over $200 million.
It remains to be seen how this lawsuit will unfold in court and what impact it may have on Puma’s signature line with LaMelo and on the other parties involved.