NBL Addresses LaMelo Ball Ownership Claims

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The NBL confirmed LaMelo Ball and his management have expressed an interest in the Illawarra Hawks but denied an application has been made for the purchase of the Australian basketball team.

Projected number one NBA draft pick Ball's manager Jermaine Jackson told ESPN on Thursday that the pair acquired the Hawks, saying: "We own the team. It's a done deal."

 

Ball – the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo – spent time playing for the Hawks last season as part of the league's Next Stars program.

The 18-year-old averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 12 games before a foot injury cut short his campaign.

However, the NBL responded to Jackson's claims on Friday in a statement, which read: "The NBL would like to clarify the current situation regarding LaMelo Ball and the Illawarra Hawks.

"The league can confirm LaMelo Ball and his management had discussions about being involved with the club while he was playing in the NBL last season.

"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 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."

Ball won the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year award during his stint with the Hawks, where he posted back-to-back triple-doubles prior to a season-ending foot injury.