LaMelo Ball’s journey to the NBA seems to have taken an age, especially as worldwide media attention has been following his journey since 2017. Off the back of his older brother, Lonzo Ball, being a top-2 pick in the NBA Draft of the same year, and his father, LaVar Ball, becoming a media sensation.
19-year-old Ball was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 3rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Completing an NBA-journey that has taken him through Lithuania and Australia to play professionally. As he opted against the traditional college route.
In April 2020, the NBA G League announced a reshaped professional pathway program. Offering prospects $500,000-plus in salary, on-and-off the court development opportunities, as well as a full college scholarship.
This was in a move to keep elite prospects in the United States. As young players, like LaMelo Ball, were opting to head overseas to play professionally.
LaMelo’s Views on the Select Team:
In pre-draft media availability ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, NBA Call-Ups had the pleasure of speaking to LaMelo Ball about the G League select team. What his opinions on the program were, and whether he saw it as being an attractive route to the NBA.
“Definitely. I feel like anything to help you get to the league is an attractive way. It’s definitely good for some people.”– LaMelo Ball on the new G League select team
Ball described any route to the NBA as being an “attractive way”. The 6-foot-7 point guard later showed his support of the new G League select team. Stating that it’s a good option for some prospects with NBA aspirations.
In a follow-up question, the #3 draft selection was asked about whether he would have entertained the G League path. Should it have been presented to him prior to heading to Australia.
“Honestly, I probably would have looked at it, but no. I was probably going to do my route still, in Australia.”– LeMelo Ball on entertaining the G League select team path
The young Charlotte Hornets star, who will now be playing under owner Michael Jordan, did admit that he probably would have assessed such an option. But he ultimately would have passed on the opportunity. Instead sticking to his journey, through Australia, to the NBA.
An Impressive Stint in Australia:
On June 17, 2019, Ball signed a two-year deal with the Illawarra Hawks, who operate in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). His contract with the Hawks included NBA out clauses. Which he later exercised as he declared for the 2020 draft.
In 12 games for Illawarra in the 2019-20 campaign, Ball averaged 17 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.7 steals (12 games). On 37.7% shooting from the field, and 25% from 3-point range. His performances earned him the NBL Rookie of the Year award.
On November 25, 2019, at age 19, LaMelo Ball became the youngest player in NBL history to record a triple-double. With 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists, in an overtime victory over the Cairns Taipans (114-106).
Stay up-to-date with the latest from the NBA G League, as well as with the development of future elite prospects from around the world, by following Call-Ups on all social media channels.