By Michael LoRé - Contributor, SportsMoney
July 7, 2021, 9:30 a.m. EDT
Less than one month after adding NBA rookie of the year to his résumé, Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball is adding general partner and board member to it as well.
Ball, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft, joins double-minority-owned athletic training and rehabilitation product tech platform Powerhandz as part of its $3 million Series A fundraise.
“Powerhandz is a whole vibe that all youth need to know about and train with,” Ball said via email. “They’ve already sold in many countries on their own, I’m just adding some steam to help elevate. It’s cool to work with a Black-woman-owned business in the sports and fitness tech space, that’s rare. We’re about to change the game with our live stream multi-sport training app. I’m just a voice to help amplify what’s already great.”
Ball’s first introduction to Powerhandz occurred by happenstance in 2019 when he began using its patented anti-grip weighted gloves to train in Los Angeles. He told manager and trainer Jermaine Jackson about the product because he wanted to buy a pair before going to Australia to play for the Illawarra Hawks. After feeling his physical strength challenged wearing the brand’s weighted Powersuit, Ball sought to get more involved in the company and its The Power to Give Foundation supporting youth athletes.
Ball, who averaged 15.7 points per game and 6.1 assists per game last season (51 games), said he’s relying on Powerhandz products this offseason to get stronger and to regain full mobility in his wrist after fracturing a bone in his right wrist in late March.
“Anytime I used our products, I felt the results,” Ball said. “As an athlete you are always trying to find an edge and find your rhythm. The more prepared you are the better. I use Powerhandz during training and pregame warm-ups; it just activates everything. I feel more explosive on the court.”
Powerhandz was founded in 2014 as just that: an opportunity for athletes to find an edge over their competition. Inspired by Jason Williams’ use of garden gloves to improve his dribbling and ball handling, Powerhandz cofounder Darnell Jones incorporated ankle weights to add resistance to his training. From there, the weights were integrated into anti-grip gloves, and since then, Powerhandz has grown into a multi-sport company offering more than ten products across basketball, baseball, softball, football, MMA and fitness.
As part of its efforts to expand and scale, Powerhandz also today announced a merger with PH Innovation Holdings Inc.
“We’ve been there and done that with the post-and-ghost type of athlete, and we’ve learned from that process,” Powerhandz cofounder and CEO Danyel Surrency Jones said. “They don’t move algorithms. We wanted someone that not only moved algorithms but got us into rooms we could not have because of influence that could excite a new generation of youth athletes.
“(Ball) was the perfect young creative rare talent based on that organic relationship that then became very strategic to help Powerhandz to scale to continue to be a global, household brand with products, technology and services that we will be launching.”
The partnership kicked off at Ball’s youth basketball “1 of 1 Elite Camp” in Charlotte hosted by Puma and Powerhandz in mid-June, where campers trained with the company’s products and gained access to be on the exclusive waiting list for its upcoming “One Ball” collection. Ball will have a hands-on role in creating this custom collection of top-of-the-line training innovation, a multi-sports and fitness technology and services platform, and serving through the company’s charity.
“I love the company and what we are creating together,” Ball said. “As a major partner, I’m committed to shifting the training culture for youth. I get to create my own collection and launch technology that teaches you how to ball better. That’s dope. That’s legacy building.”
As for the 19-year-old Ball, this is just the beginning of his growing influence and ventures off the court. He signed with Puma in October 2020 ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft in a deal reportedly worth $100 million.
“I’m just being me: never force a business partnership and I’m expanding at my own pace,” he said. “My off-the-court interest must connect to who I am on the court. I’m looking forward to the journey of creating an off-the-court legacy similar to those before me like Mike and Magic.”