LaMelo Ball isn’t a basketball boss just yet.
Australia’s National Basketball League on Friday denied the NBA prospect has bought the Illawarra Hawks, contradicting a confirmation statement Ball’s manager, Jermaine Jackson, made to ESPN hours earlier. The NBL said in separate statements the Hawks voluntarily entered bankruptcy and the league had taken back their ownership and operating license from previous holder Simon Stratford. The NBL also confirmed Ball’s interest in buying the team
Ball buying the Hawks is one of “a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL,” the league’s statement said.
Jackson said Friday, “We own the team. It’s a done deal.”
However, the NBL insists it holds “final approval of any transfer of (the ownership) license” and that it hadn’t transferred it from Stratford to Ball.
Ball played 12 games for the Hawks in the 2019-20 NBL season. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game before returning to the United States to recover from injury and prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft, in which he’s a potential No. 1 overall pick.
Ball, 18, is the youngest son of outspoken sports dad LaVar and younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo and NBA G League guard LiAngelo.