Ball brothers' Lithuanian club will be playing in something called the Big Baller Brand Challenge Games

The father of American basketball players LiAngelo and LaMelo, LaVar Ball speaks during the training session at the BC Prienai-Birstonas Vytautas arena in Prienai, Lithuania. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

It’s a Ball family world and Lithuania is just living in it. On Friday morning, Lithuania’s Prienu Vytautas-Birštonas club welcomed the Ball brothers, LiAngelo, 19, and LaMelo, 16, to their new home in a lower-level Lithuanian League. Their introduction could only be described as a three-ring circus. On Friday evening, Vytautas added a new level of weirdness to this Ball family experiment by withdrawing from the Baltic League’s domestic competition in the middle of the season. Vytautas will instead compete in the Lithuania League and host the Big Baller Brand Challenge Games, a five-game exhibition sponsored by Lavar Ball’s namesake apparel company.

The Ball brothers made have relocated to a remote part of the world, but they’re making the best of the situation. Lithuania is a basketball-crazed country, however, LiAngelo and LaMelo’s Big Baller Brand Challenge debut games will be broadcast globally on Facebook. The Big Baller Brand Challenge’s Facebook Watch programming is the continuation of an ongoing partnership with the Ball Family and Facebook, which may bid for rights to much more major pro sports television rights in the near future.

Facebook Watch aired the first season of Ball in the Family, a reality show featuring LaVar, LiAngelo, Lonzo, LaMelo’s and their mother Tina. Last summer, 80,000 people watched LaMelo Ball take on Zion Williamson in an AAU basketball exhibition, proving that an audience exists for low-quality basketball featuring one or more of the Ball brothers.

LiAngelo and LaMelo are expected to play significant minutes for Vytautas according to head coach Virginijus Seskus, the games will be broadcast in English, and according to Vytautas’ press release, the Ball brothers should make their debut next Tuesday.


The games tip off Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 1:30pm ET, as Vytautas plays Kauno Žalgiris-2. The full five-game broadcast schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 9, 1:30pm ET: Vytautas vs. Kauno Žalgiris-2
  • Monday, Jan. 15, 1:30pm ET: Vytautas vs. Vilniaus Lietuvos-rytas-2
  • Friday, Jan. 17, 2:00pm ET: Vytautas vs. Šakių Vytis
  • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2:00pm ET: Vytautas vs. Alytaus Dzukija
  • Sunday, Jan. 28, 2:00pm ET: Vytautas vs. Jonavos Jonava

Those aren’t the caliber of opponents, Vytautas vowed to schedule, but it always seemed unlikely that they’d be able to attract elite EuroLeague teams. Last month, Lavar also announced his intentions to launch a league for high school graduates. Next week’s Challenge may also serve as a test run for the viability of that league. Or it may simply be a vanity exercise.

The Ball saga is a never ending one, but at least debate may be on the verge of switching to one about their talent and basketball development instead of their brand exposure. Amid all the hoopla and expectations, this challenge puts even more pressure on LiAngelo and LaMelo to put up or shut up when they perform as professionals for the first time.

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DJ Dunson is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at dunsnchecksin@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.