I've never paid so much attention to the NBA Summer League as I did the last few weeks. So, why is 2017 different from any other year? Without any deep research into the subject, this Las Vegas tournament's field of players had a little more allure than past summers. Even that is digging too deep. Let's face it, Lonzo Ball is the reason I and clearly many, many others, based on the big ratings, were interested.

The Lakers rookie's first game notwithstanding, Ball's strong on-court play was still secondary to whatever he was wearing on his feet. From the debut of Big Baller Brand's ZO2 to what felt like a string of games modeling the sport's biggest brands while putting up big numbers, Lonzo is backing up all of his dad's talk and perhaps putting BBB in position to pull off the impossible; get a Nike, Adidas or Under Armour to buy LaVar Ball's family project.

Nick DePaula covers the world of NBA shoe deals and branding of athletes for ESPN and Nicekicks.com. Check out his segment from Wednesday morning.

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