LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA star guard Lonzo Ball, has quickly become notorious around the basketball world for all of the crazy shit he says. For a long time I have tried to ignore this man and not pay any attention to him but I guess we have to talk about him because by the time I’m even done writing this article, he will probably claim that he could keep Russell Westbrook scoreless or that his son deserves a $15 trillion shoe contract.
In case you’ve been living under a rock the last few months, you should probably know that LaVar’s son, Lonzo Ball, is very good at basketball. He has UCLA in the tournament as a 3-seed and should definitely be taken within the first couple of picks in the upcoming NBA draft. He can shoot from outside, he’s probably one of the best passers we’ve seen out of college in a long time, and he just has a good feel for the game as a whole. But he’s not the problem here. His father is.
LaVar Ball might be his son’s best cheerleader/hype man. He has two other sons who are still in high school but have already committed to play for UCLA once they graduate. Now I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with that because I’m not going to try to tell someone how to raise their kids. With that being said, LaVar has said his sons will get a $1 billion endorsement deal right out of the gate, that Lonzo is already better than two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, and that he would “kill” Michael Jordan when he was in his prime, even though LaVar only averaged 2.2 points per game at Washington State and shot a measly 45% from the free throw line.
There has been more outlandish things he said but I just want to focus on one for right now. Earlier this month, LaVar said this about Cavaliers superstar LeBron James:
“You got LeBron — it’s going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad,'” Ball said. “And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?’ And then they are going to be like, ‘Aw, you’re soft. You’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
As you might expect, LeBron didn’t take too kindly to Ball’s comments and basically responded with “keep my kids name out of your mouth.” And he’s right. Ball later said that he didn’t have anything against LeBron or his kids but that’s far beyond the point because this was an unnecessary shot at LeBron’s kids whether Ball meant for it to come across that way or not.
Look, LaVar isn’t going to stop talking and quite honestly I’m tired of hearing about him. He’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about himself or his sons and it’s a distraction. It may not be a distraction for Lonzo right now on the court, but if this keeps up it sure as hell is going to be a distraction for whatever team decides to draft him this summer.
I don’t know what LaVar’s motivation for some of his comments are. Maybe he just has an extreme confidence and desire to see his sons succeed, which may very well be the case. But if I am being completely honest, my belief is that LaVar is using his sons talent as a platform to get the spotlight that he never had and at least for now, it’s working.