LaMelo Ball’s Illawarra Hawks purchase could inspire other young stars

The 2020 NBA Draft will feature a unique twist: one of its lottery picks will also own a pro basketball team.

LaMelo Ball and his manager, Jermaine Jackson, have purchased the Illawarra Hawks, a National Basketball League franchise in Australia, according to ESPN

Ball, 18, starred for the Hawks last season, averaging 17 points, seven assists and eight rebounds per game on his way to being named the NBL’s rookie of the year. Ball’s connection with Australia goes beyond buying the franchise, which was struggling financially and had attracted the interest of the owner of the rival Sydney Kings. Three months ago, he donated one month of his NBL salary to victims of Australia’s bushfires. Ball has also signaled a desire to routinely return to the Land Down Under during the NBA offseason.

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