Well, a lot has happened. And a lot of it relates to my book about LaVar.
Alan Foster has finally been outed for the slime bucket he is. Had I known this would happen, I wouldn’t have changed his name to “Tom” in my book We Ballin. Upon discovering that 1.5 million dollars of his money had disappeared from his personal and business accounts under Foster’s care, Zo “severed ties” with Foster.
Foster owns 16.3 percent of Big Baller Brand. Foster enriched himself off of the Ball family. Foster was the man who fired me in the book, really the true antagonist of the book itself. Zo stated that Foster had “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”
As I explained repeated in the book, Foster was LaVar’s manager, but he was he also his main man. He was his catch all, his go-to for all questions, big or small.
He managed the Big Baller Brand LLC since its inception in 2014. In 2010, Alan developed close ties to LaVar and the family when Zo and Foster’s sons became friends as seventh graders. Of course, Alan was the one who convinced LaVar to create the clothing and shoe line. This (and LaVar himself) seemingly prohibited Zo from signing one of several multi-million dollar endorsement deals from shoe companies like Nike and Adidas.
Lonzo did bring up Alan’s questionable actions to LaVar for months. But LaVar didn’t read the emails concerning the actual proof about it until recently. He was reportedly shocked, of course. And he called it all “devastating.” He told the media, “I’ve always believed in the best in people. Regretfully, I put my complete trust in Alan Foster to manage my son’s business affairs. At the end of the day, family comes first, and I support Zo wholeheartedly. Together, we will make this right.”
I felt a little sting with this, because at one point, I thought I was part of LaVar’s family too. He told me that many times, as I state in the book. But what happened to me was a far cry from serving as LaVar’s biographer. I ended up working for Alan, essentially. I was his assistant, his minion, his pion. Then he fired me.
Of course, Alan initially said he would meet with the media. He would meet with LaVar. But then he never did and offered no comment.
These are the details: Foster has a criminal past duping people out of their money. Foster was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2002 after pleading guilty to both mail fraud and money laundering. He defrauded over 70 investors out of $4 million dollars.
No one knew this about Alan, not even myself. Zo’s financial adviser, Humble Lukanga (who I met several times, along with Harrison Gaines), told Zo last fall that Lonzo’s personal and business taxes couldn’t be completed in a timely manner because of this missing $1.5 million. Zo further looked into the matter when another tax issue cropped up regarding income related to their Facebook Watch reality show “Ball in the Family.” Darren Moore, Zo’s manager, also brought it to Zo’s attention. So now Alan is off the show.
Basically, Foster spent money received from the show in improper ways. About Alan, Darren Moore said, “[He] was more than a trusted adviser. He was a mentor, a father figure and someone Lonzo and I respected, loved and listened to. … I’m proud of Lonzo for waking up and taking back his power. Together, we will fight for justice.”
I myself saw the way that everyone in the Ball family, Zo, LaVar, and Moore included, looked up to Alan. While we went on our afternoon runs with the Chino Hills High team back in 2016, Moore and I often talked about Alan and how much work he was doing with the family. They were always words of admiration. I knew how much Darren appreciated Alan as part of LaVar’s team.
So, to break it down further, Zo owns 51% of Big Baller Brand. LaVar owns 16.4%, and both Tina and Alan own 16.3%. A big question that still lingers is the following: how will business ties be severed with Foster permanently?
Back in October, Lukanga sent an email to both Zo and LaVar with the subject line “Urgent – $1.5 million Dollars Missing.” He wrote in the email that he had asked Foster repeatedly about the missing funds, but he said that Foster, “won’t show any invoices or documentation of these expenses. He won’t even give me the number to the vendors he says he paid. I’VE NEVER SEEN A COMPANY OPERATE BY WITHDRAWING MILLIONS IN CASH … Only you and Alan can withdraw cash and I know you didn’t take out $1.5 million dollars … SO WHERE IS THE MONEY???”
With the email came two itemized reports showing these cash withdrawals from BBB by Foster’s company Marathon Consulting, Inc. Lukanga said in the email, “Over $1.5 million dollars has disappeared and he has wired over $474,000 to himself through Marathon Consulting (see attached report). So close to $2 million dollars has touched Alan’s hands but $1.5 million of it has disappeared in cash and can’t be tracked.”
Now the money is gone. He added, “My purpose in this lifetime is to protect, serve and educate families; especially black families,” Lukanga wrote in his October email. “It’s breaking my heart to see the Ball family being taken advantage of; I love the family, things aren’t right with the companies.”
Lukanga ceased representing Lonzo in November, but has since been rehired.
By late November, Lukanga no longer represented Lonzo, though he was rehired by Lonzo in recent days.
Lukanga, Moore, and Lonzo’s former agent Harrison Gaines helped Zo arrive at the truth, after which Zo issued the following statement:”This has been a very difficult decision as I had a great deal of love and respect for Alan. But the time has come for me to take responsibility for my own career both on and off the court.”
So now Alan is gone, finally. But the JBA remains (I think?). The Big Baller Brand website that I originally created (which I explain in the book) is no longer in service. I honestly feel badly that LaVar was hoodwinked as he was, but my heart mostly goes out to Zo, Gelo, and Melo, all of whom suffered under the misguidance that Foster provided LaVar. LaVar always admired Alan, and he wasn’t shy about saying so. Back in 2017, LaVar said of Alan, “This dude is one of the smartest suckers ever,” LaVar said. “He knows how everything goes. We had shirts made that said ‘Team Ball’ [and] ‘UnbelievaBall.’ And he [Foster] said, ‘LaVar, your creativity is crazy. Let’s create your brand, man. Your brand is bigger than anything. Somebody going to run away with your s—, man.’ He was like, ‘I’ll tell you what. You’re going to put all the work in with your boys. I’ll come back and run the agency. Whatever you need me to do. Let me do it, though.'”
Alan has been arrested for carrying a concealed handgun without a license and for a felony-level violation of his supervised release (details remain unspecified), for which he served another five months in prison. A year later, he met the Balls.
The lead prosecutor of the financial scheme, Joseph Zwicker, said to media of Alan and his conspirators, “They targeted African-Americans that they got to know through churches and by other means. And they made various misrepresentations to them about their ability to return large sums on investments, which were false. They admitted that.”
Lonzo was injured again this season – his third ankle injury – while wearing Big Baller Brand shoes. The Lakers asked Zo to look into the quality of the shoe because of this. The Lakers themselves had expressed concerns to Foster himself because of the many customer complaints issued to the Better Business Bureau, resulting in an “F” grade in 2018. There were 184 complaints over 3 years, and I knew all about that…because I had also once been their only customer service representative.
And they still have a failing grade.
The Federal Trade Commission has received several hundred complaints as well.
Now, Zo is being repped by Creative Artists Agency. No one is really sure why Harrison and Zo parted. But it makes sense he would choose this company if he were also trying to promote his music.
“Ball in the Family” has fictionally recreated his revelation to LaVar about who Alan “really is.”
And yet, STILL, LaVar has had something to say about Magic Johnson’s resignation as the Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations. On “Undisputed,” LaVar said, “Magic, from my point of view now, listening to him talk, he’s just a face. I don’t think his say-so is like his say-so. … I’m trying to figure out who’s in charge [of the Lakers]. The system is crumbling down.”
He also spoke to his desire to have all three of his sons on the same NBA team…even the Phoenix Suns. How Gelo is getting to the NBA at all is anyone’s guess, but LaVar wants his “dynasty.” When I was growing up, the dynasty meant simply ensuring the success of his sons. Then it meant the success of Big Baller Brand. It meant doing whatever he wanted, even if it was directed by Alan.
And up till now, it has come at quite the cost.