The Lonzo Ball Show is officially over in Las Vegas.
The Los Angeles Lakers‘ prized first-round pick will not play in Monday’s summer league championship game against the Portland Trail Blazers due to a mild calf strain in his right leg, per Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell.
Ball, 19, went down with calf stiffness in Sunday night’s 108-98 win over the Dallas Mavericks in their semifinals matchup. The injury held him out of the final quarter-and-a-half of an otherwise superb 16-point, 10-assist performance, but he seemed optimistic about playing in the title game.
“This is the first time my calf got tight,” Ball told reporters. “Just being cautious. I wanted to get back out there, but the training staff is going to take care of me and I will be with them tonight and tomorrow and hope I can get back out there tomorrow.”
While there is some level of pride in winning a summer league championship, it’s understandable the Lakers don’t want to risk any aggravation. Ball previously sat out a matchup against the Sacramento Kings due to a groin injury.
Add in the calf issue, and there is little use in playing Ball in what amounts to a meaningless game. The UCLA product finishes his first summer league experience with averages of 16.4 points, 9.2 assists and 8.4 rebounds. He recorded the first two triple-doubles in Las Vegas Summer League history and nearly a couple more.
Turnovers and outside shooting were issues for much of the tournament, but Ball appeared at a max comfort level Sunday. He knocked down five of his seven shots to sit at 35.4 percent from the floor for the tournament and did not record a turnover.
“He was amazing,” Lakers summer league coach Jud Buechler told reporters. “He was just dynamite there for about a 12-minute stretch there in the first and second quarter a little bit. … You can see what he is all about, and he’s a winner, that’s what he is.”
Ball also sent a message in regards to apparel, wearing his own Big Baller Brand shoes along with Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Jordan Brand footwear. He’s currently without an apparel contract after being unable to come to an agreement on a partnership with his family’s BBB.
“It’s making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind,” his father LaVar Ball said in a text message to ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell. “The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”
While LaVar would have undoubtedly basked in an early Lakers “championship” spearheaded by his son, it’s probably best for all concerned that Ball sit out and ensure his health going into the season.
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