NBL: Sale Of Illawara Hawks To LaMelo Ball, Manager Not Yet Final

10:06pm: Australia’s National Basketball League issued a statement confirming discussions with Ball and Jackson, but stressing that a sale of the Illawarra Hawks hasn’t been finalized.

“At this point we are continuing to work with current licence holder Simon Stratford on a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL,” the league’s statement reads. “The NBL has final approval on any transfer of licence and no application has been made to date. The NBL has no further comment at this stage.”

12:13pm: After playing for Australia’s Illawarra Hawks for most of the 2019/20 season, draft prospect LaMelo Ball – along with manager Jermaine Jackson – has purchased the National Basketball League franchise, per an ESPN report.

“We own the team,” Jackson told ESPN. “It’s a done deal.”

The youngest Ball brother ended up playing in just 12 games for Illawarra, with a foot injury bringing his season to an early end. However, as Jackson explained to ESPN, Ball enjoyed his time in Australia with the Hawks so much that he wanted to get involved when the team faced financial issues.

“Melo loves the Illawarra fans,” Jackson said. “He loves that community. They opened their arms to him. They made us feel like we are at home. When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided, ‘Let’s own the team.'”

Jackson went on to talk about hiring “the right people” to oversee the franchise with the goal of creating an elite basketball program that may appeal to other top high school prospects who are considering following in Ball’s footsteps by playing overseas rather than in the NCAA.

“When high school kids hear LaMelo owns the team, they will want to come,” Jackson said. “They’ll know they will be taken care of. We’re going to put the organization on steroids, building it into a program that guys want to play for. I’m in touch with several former NBA GMs that want to go there to help out and high-level coaches that won every championship you can imagine.”

While Ball won’t be the first NBA player to own a basketball franchise in an international league, the fact that he’s in position to make such an investment before even entering the league is fascinating. At this point, we don’t have specific details on how bad the Hawks’ financial situation was or what the purchase price was for Ball and Jackson.

Ball, who averaged 17.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 7.0 APG in the NBL, with multiple triple-doubles, is viewed as a near-lock to be a top-five pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He’s currently the No. 2 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board.

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19 thoughts on “NBL: Sale Of Illawara Hawks To LaMelo Ball, Manager Not Yet Final

  1. jonnyzuck

    lavar ball gets a lot of hate for how he raises his kids but it’s pretty cool to be 18 years old and be able to own a franchise

    • illowa

      Lavar really did set great examples for his kids, on what not to do. Great forward thinking on melo’s part, good investment.

    • Simmons>Russ

      Yeah agree, not that Lavar is a great dad or everything he does is right but his kids all seem to have a really strong understanding of values and respect and stuff like that. He must be pretty smart and rich to buy a franchise

        • Simmons>Russ

          He always said Gelo was kinda not as good as the other two and he’s finally getting his chance after injury in the G league so there’s still hope

  2. jeremy

    he got big headed after the older came to the league. lavar ruin the middle kids career a little and he kind of step back with the youngest. i wonder if lavar look at all his mistakes and learn he need to take a step back in his kids lives

  3. sidewinder11

    Probably a poor choice of words to say they’re putting “the organization on steroids” but oh well. We know what he meant

    • x%sure

      If steroids equals investment, then he’s already going to spend down his rookie scale money.
      But it’s probably a good investment, given his name factor and NCAA attitudes. Just roll out the big plans slowly.

  4. OCTraveler

    This will likely be the landing spot for players who don’t want to go the college route. The only major drawback is there is probably a limit to the number of “imports” you can employ.

  5. Simmons>Russ

    Good decisions, firstly it’s probably cheaper right now unfortunately due to corona virus.
    Secondly college kids are looking more so now than ever at what their is overseas for basketball instead of the NCAA.
    Thirdly basketball in Australia is really poppin off and your just adding more fuel to that fire and with your American connections it’s going to be great for that team and for the league.

    Steve Alford who coached UCLA when Lonzo was there would be a good coach in the NBL.
    Or Steve Baik who was Chino Hills coach to LaMelo, Lonzo, LiAngelo in 2016.
    Plus if they are targeting former NBA players they should go after Marshon Brooks who’s 31 and would light up the league with his scoring and Tyler Zeller who is 30 and has also been out of the league for a while

  6. TJECK109

    I’m willing to bet that the younger brothers look up to their older one more than their dad at this point

  7. Dodgethis

    So these guys bought a team in financial trouble and people think that’s a good investment? Are you also thinking BBB was a good investment? Does anyone really know what happened there? Poor decision making.

  8. hiflew

    Cool. Does that mean he can stay there and not infest the NBA with another Ball?

  9. bush5104

    I’m sure his brother Tito wanted in on it too. Maybe even Latoya or Janet? But def not Michael.

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