Likely NBA lottery pick LaMelo Ball and his manager Jermaine Jackson purchased the NBL's Illawarra Hawks on Thursday, Jackson confirmed.
Ball shined in 12 games with the Australian team in 2019-20, averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
"Melo loves the Illawarra fans," Jackson told ESPN. "He loves that community. They opened their arms to him. They made us feel like we are at home. When we started hearing about the issues they were going through, we talked about it and decided, 'Let's own the team.'"
Ball has maintained a connection to Australia despite declaring for the NBA Draft on Jan. 16. He donated one month of his NBL salary to help victims of Australia's bushfires in January, and Ball plans to return to Australia during his offseasons.
"When Melo wants to do stuff in the summertime, we'll be there," Jackson told ESPN. "We'll take a tour with his family all over Australia, doing basketball camps and connecting with the youth. He wants to inspire the next generation."
The 6'7" guard is currently slated to be selected No. 5 in the 2020 NBA Draft, per Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo's latest mock draft.