In an amazing feat of a one in a million type of scenario, all three of Lavar and Tina Ball’s sons are playing basketball professionally with two of the three in the NBA and the oldest, LiAngelo, seemingly set to find a home in the league very soon.
The eldest the aforementioned LiAngelo has seen his share of off-court issues leading to someone certainty about his long-term potential.
The middle son, Lonzo, starred at UCLA and came into the league with the Los Angeles Lakers with high expectations. Those expectations were met with a dose of reality when playing at the highest level. To his credit, Lonzo has improved his game and become a solid NBA player with a bright future.
The theory goes that the youngest child in the family of athletes should be the best as they have seen their older siblings go through the process and hopefully learned from their experiences along the way.
LaMelo, the baby Ball brother, appears to be the best of the of bunch.
Melo, the family prodigy, started his high school career at Chino Hills High playing with his two older brothers who secured a state championship his freshman year.
Prior to his junior season, he left Chino Hills and signed with a Lithuanian team and played professionally for Prienai.
Melo made a run in the JBA, a league his father created in 2018.
As a high school senior, he returned and played for SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio.
The Blue Chip recruit decided to skip college and play in Australia in the NBL for the Illawarra Hawks in 2019. He shined in the league, holding his own with grown men and capturing NBL Rookie of the Year award.
Ball was selected 3rd overall on the 2020 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
It was apparent very early on that he was a wildly talented playmaker whose game only improved throughout the regular season. He started the season coming off the bench and as he saw the court more and more his numbers grew exponentially. In early January he became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double. He finished the season averaging nearly 16 points, six assists and six rebounds per game, securing NBA Rookie of the Year honors. In short, he was as good or better than advertised and when Lavar Ball is the one advertising you, that is really saying something.
After a minor setback from a late season fractured right wrist injury, LaMelo is on the mend and one can only imagine that he will be back for a monster sophomore season in the league.
Below are three tiers of LaMelo Ball rookie cards from options for big ballers to those that play small ball …and a little in between.
Rookie of the Year Tier
1. 2020-21 Panini Impeccable #138 LaMelo Ball JSY AU RC– This is a redemption card at the moment but if the real ones are as nice as the mockup, owners should be happy. It offers a beautiful image of Ball accompanied with a very nice, generally multicolored jersey swatch and Ball’s signature. Hailing in one of the upper tier products this one will not come cheap if you can even get your hands on one. They’ve have been generating some buzz on eBay.
2. 2020-21 Panini Contenders #125 LaMelo Ball AU RC– The Contenders line has bled over from football releases in the early 2000s to become a name now synonymous with basketball. This is a very nice, albeit pretty standard, rookie ticket autographed card of this year’s Rookie of the Year award winner. This will be one that should be towards the top of hot lists and want lists around the country and world for that matter. It, too, is an autograph redemption as of now.
3. 2020-21 Panini Noir #145 LaMelo Ball A RC-Hailing from a product that is well over $1,500 per box and with a serial number to just 99, this card has to land on the uppermost tier of this list. The image and card itself is nothing super spectacular but with the formula and factors mentioned above it will be a notable card from this rookie season.
Big Baller Brand Tier
1. 2020-21 Panini Prizm #278 LaMelo Ball RC-Prizm has become the standard rookie card by which all other rookie cards are measured. That’s not to say it’s the most expensive or the most rare or the most of, well, anything. It just has become a benchmark, a flagship and iconic brand by which all others are measured north and south. The LaMelo Ball Prizm rookie is no different, as it will be one of his most traded rookie cards regardless of what has come before it will come after it and the remainder of this product release season.
2. 2020-21 Clearly Donruss #87 LaMelo Ball Rated Rookie – Due out July 25, Clearly Donruss is a slick acetate type of card that nearly mirrors the design of the standard Donruss. It’s a step up to be sure and a really cool take on the classic Donruss line. No Donruss rookie card would be complete without the iconic Rated Rookie logo which can be found here. This should be a very aesthetically pleasing card at what’s generally a fairly modest price.
3. 2020-21 Crown Royale #79 LaMelo Ball RC-as seen with every Crown Royale product in the products history, you will find the die cut crown accompanied with a pretty standard shot in this case of Ball in his Charlotte Hornets uniform. It’s a solid and unique choice from a lower mid to upper lower tier product line and you can own it without going broke.
Chino Hills Tier
1. 2020-21 Hoops #223 LaMelo Ball RC– the flagship Hoops product makes an appearance at the bottom tier of the list. The picture is of a somewhat awkward image of Lonzo handling the ball. It was one of the earliest releases and one of the first in his Hornets uniform. Sales were strong and it was on the hot list out of the gate but as other products at the market this fell to the back burner a bit. It’s still classic. Its still timeless and best of all, it’s still affordable.
2. 2020-21 Donruss #202 LaMelo Ball RR RC-the youngest Ball brother gets the classic Donruss rated rookie treatment on this card. It’s a nice, clean image from a photo shoot coupled with a nice, clean card design. When this card first came out it booked it nearly $200 but as has everything else in the market, it has softened a bit in recent months. You can snag it for a fraction of that price now.
3. 2020-21 Panini Certified #198 LaMelo Ball RC-Certified is not so much elite as it is a mid to lower end product, especially for base rookie cards. This card came out of the gates on fire with a three digit starting price but as other issues hit the market it dropped a few tiers. This is a nice, relatively inexpensive card to add to your growing LaMelo Ball rookie collection. If you are unsure of the playmakers future but want to own a card or two look to one of this caliber.