They Live and Breath Their Brand
When you think UFC, you think Dana White, and vice versa. Dana White is the UFC. Dana isn’t the type of businessman to jump from one venture to the next, capitalizing on different opportunities and dipping in to different businesses. He’s no Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. All Dana cares about is MMA and the UFC. Despite some of his shortcomings, you can never deny that Dana White is the ultimate brand ambassador, not once wavering in his support or belief in the brand that he heads up. That relentlessness in promoting the UFC is what helped push the value of the company in to the Billions.
Since he launched Big Baller Brand in 2016, LaVar Ball has been relentlessly promoting the brand at any opportunity he’s been afforded. Anywhere the man goes, you’re seeing that BBB logo emblazoned across his chest, on his hat, his shoes, it’s probably tattooed on his ass. But that’s alright, he understands that Big Baller Brand represents him, his boys, and his family. LaVar is showing the same type of intensity, tenacity, and passion for his brand that Dana White has shown for the UFC for so many years. If he can keep this up, maybe that $3 Billion apparel partnership he’s been shopping will start to look a little more realistic.
They Make Outlandish Statements in the Media
In the early years of the UFC, Dana White was a pretty clean cut, straight forward guy in the media. He was a company man, but as a promoter, he was so-so. It wasn’t until he started not giving a [email protected]$# in his interactions with the media that things really started to kick off.
It’s pretty common knowledge that The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 1 is what sparked the meteoric rise of the UFC in to mainstream culture. Most people give credit to the headline fight, where Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin beat each other to a living pulp live on Spike TV. However, for those that remember, the season was on it’s way to being a big dud when many of the fighters didn’t actually want to fight for free. This is the first time we saw the true Dana White come out with his often referenced “Do you want to be a [email protected]$%ing fighter!?” speech that lit a fire under everyone’s ass. The fighters. The viewers. Everyone. From then on, Dana White became more and more outlandish with his statements as the years went on.
From the whole “Stitch Duran was never my friend” thing, to his profanity laced rant against Sherdog writer Loretta Hunt, to the countless times he discounted some of the greatest fighters of all time (i.e. Fedor Emelianenko, Cris “Cyborg” Santos). A lot of the things Dana White says in the media are absolutely ridiculous, often times offensive, and sometimes even straight up lies. However, at the end of the day the man has a job to do, and that is to keep the attention of the masses on his brand, and that’s what he’s done.
LaVar Ball takes a different, yet equally outlandish approach to his statements in the media. While Dana White can come off as brash, foul mouthed, and sometimes insulting, LaVar Ball is just goofy. Goofy in a way that you know he’s playing up a character just to keep his family’s name in the limelight, but not goofy enough where you think he doesn’t actually believe a lot of this stuff himself.
Much like Dana White, LaVar is not quick to pull back his statements or apologize. He says what he means and means what he says. Even when he doesn’t mean it, he still says it and says it like he means it. That’s a man with a mission.
Let’s take the time he said that his son, Lonzo Ball, is currently better than Steph Curry, one of the greatest players of all time:
— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) February 19, 2017
How about the time LaVar confidently claimed that he would “kill Michael Jordan one-on-one”:
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,
He then went on to explain himself further:
“I would just back (Jordan) in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left,” Ball said. “He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.
And of course there was the Billion dollar statement surrounding Big Baller Brand:
“A billion dollars, it has to be there,” Ball said. “That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 mil over 10 years.”
Which, less than 3 months later, became the 3 Billion dollar statement:
“Now you know … if they want to talk to me now, it just went up to $3 billion. Triple Bs — billion, billion, billion,”
Will LaVar Ball, the Ball Brothers, and Big Baller Brand ever hit that Billion dollar benchmark LaVar set for them? It’s highly doubtful.
But hey, if you asked the average sports fan 15 years ago if the UFC would ever sell for $4 Billion, they would have probably said the same thing.
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