While the 2020 NBA Draft is just months away, guard LaMelo Ball is the kind of talent that has NBA team owners dreaming of taking him with the No. 1 pick. Now, Ball will be able to relate to basketball owners after he and his manager bought his former Australian NBL team this week.
Ball confirmed to ESPN on Thursday that he and his manager, Jermaine Jackson, have officially purchased the Illawarra Hawks. The 18-year-old guard, a projected top-three pick in the latest mock draft, signed with Illawarra in August as part of the Australia league’s Next Stars program.
While he only played 12 games this season before suffering a foot injury, Ball averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists per contest. He also recorded consecutive triple-doubles before the injury ended his season.
Even at a young age and with an NBA contract months away, Ball seems to be looking out for his basketball peers in the future and providing for those in Australia.
“He is going to be locked into his NBA career, but we are going to hire the right people to oversee everything,” Jackson said, via ESPN. “He wants to create the best basketball program possible for that community there.”
It normally takes young athletes a few years to start investing their money after being drafted and settling into their professional life. But Ball is clearly taking a different approach before his NBA career even begins.