Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball showed why he was the No. 2 overall pick taken in the NBA Draft with an outstanding performance July 12 that left Twitter buzzing throughout the night.

Ball scored a game-high 36 points with 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals in a 103-102 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in an NBA Summer League game on July 12 in Las Vegas. 

FILE – In this July 7, 2017 file photo, Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball shoots over Los Angeles Clippers’ Brice Johnson (10) during overtime of an NBA summer league basketball game, in Las Vegas. Ball’s dud of a debut is long forgotten. And on Wednesday night, July 12 so were his Big Baller Brand sneakers. Now he has the best game of the NBA Summer League — and another playoff game for a chance to top it. Ball had 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in their opening game of the tournament stage. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Ball’s big game silenced critics who questioned his ability after a lackluster performance in his Summer League debut against the L.A. Clippers on July 7. Ball had just five points on 2-of-15 shooting in that game and pundits everywhere were ready to write him off as a bust while blaming his father, LaVar, for setting him up for failure.  

Lonzo bounced back with a better performance the following night, posting a triple-double of 11 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds against the Boston Celtics on July 8. But, his latest outing of 36 points with 11 assists on July 12 might be enough to prove that the hype surrounding the Ball family is real. According to reports, Lonzo Ball is now the only player in the history of the NBA Summer League to score at least 30 points with at least 10 assists in a single game. 

What made Ball’s performance even more impressive was the presence of NBA superstar LeBron James, who watched the game from a front row seat as a spectator. Some rookies would fold under that kind of pressure, knowing arguably the best player in the NBA is there to watch you play. Instead, Ball relished in James’ presence. 

LeBron did, however, take a subtle jab at Ball’s Big Baller Brand shoes via social media. Lonzo played his first two games of the Summer League in his own signature shoes, the ZO2s, made by the company brand owned by his family. But he decided to wear Kobe Bryant’s signature shoes against the 76ers Wednesday night. Kobe’s shoes are made by Nike, which is also endorsed by James. When LeBron noticed Ball had on the Nikes, he recorded video footage of it and posted the video on his Instagram account with the caption, “Just. Do. It.” 


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor