Big Baller Brand announced LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball will start their professional basketball careers in Lithuania on Jan. 9.
January 9th, the international Ball show begins ⛹🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/9kawtfmECZ
— Big Baller Brand (@bigballerbrand) January 5, 2018
Melo and Gelo -- who was detained in China for shoplifting with two other UCLA student-athletes -- will suit up for BC Vytautas, a club based in Prienai, Lithuania, a team that desperately needed a boost in revenue.
From the onset, just based on the reception in the airport, it seems like funds should no longer be a problem.
Insane. Ball family came to Lithuania, Absolute chaos in Vilnius airport pic.twitter.com/vZALO33BSw
— Donatas Urbonas (@Urbodo) January 3, 2018
According to Donatas Urbonas, a Lithuanian basketball reporter, The team raised ticket prices from 3 to 8 euros and expect to sell out their 1,200 seat area. Previously, they would only average 530 spectators.
Vytautas reportedly has problems with debt every season to the point where some former players are not yet fully paid, it's common knowledge that Prienai players salaries might be late, and the maximum for any player in this league is $500 per month.
Vytautas is one of the strangest destinations for Ball bros ever. They have problems with debts every season. Some of the former players wasn't fully paid yet. Most of the players who go to Prienai know that their salaries might be late. https://t.co/zqzK8abrD7
— Donatas Urbonas (@Urbodo) December 11, 2017
On top of that, Prienai experienced a rash of injuries due to an improper training staff, and they feature a coach, Virginijus Seskus, who is notoriously bad at dealing with foreign players.
Insight from an American guard into the potential first pro coach for LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. https://t.co/O7ym19h8xM
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 11, 2017
However, Seskus says he is "intensively learning English" but apparently not the kind of English Lavar Ball speaks.
Seskus said Lavar doesn't try to interrupt his job and "even if he did, I wouldn't understand anything."
The Balls say their goal is to "Play ball, eat, sleep. That's all we need to do. That's what Ball players do."
Yet, it seems plenty of distractions are already getting in the way.
One reporter already asked Gelo on a date at a press conference, they rode in a party bus that featured a strobe light and a dance pole, and, perhaps most drastically, their team removed themselves from the Baltic basketball league they play in and will now only play exhibition games.
This is something. BC Vytautas will play exhibition games for Ball brothers and excluded themselves from Baltic Basketball league. I wonder what Vytautas players think about this
— Donatas Urbonas (@Urbodo) January 6, 2018
That and the rest of the sidebar antics haven't sat well with the rest of the team.
"Nothing good at all. What can I tell," Vytauras guard Tomas Dimsa said. "You're practicing surrounded by 100 cameras. What's the point? We have to prepare for the game, but now we have to answer all these questions."
The Balls scheduled Lithuanian games are on the 9th, 15th, 17th, 23rd and 28th of January, and they will take on youth, first and second division Lithuanian teams. Every game will be available to watch in the U.S. on Facebook.