There are only two teams left playing in the NBA season, so an increasing amount of attention is being directed towards the offseason and the upcoming NBA Draft. Unfortunately for anyone who enjoys modesty, Lonzo Ball is a projected lottery pick in the draft. Lonzo Ball is not really a problem child. However, he has a problem parent. Lonzo’s father, failed football player Lavar Ball, has one of the biggest mouths in America, and is using it to spout nonsense to anyone who will listen. This wouldn’t be a problem, but his son is one of the top prospects in the upcoming draft, and for some reason, members of the sports media continue to give Lavar Ball a platform to project his ridiculousness to as wide of an audience as possible. Lavar Ball might not realize this, but his continued boisterous nature is not only hurting his oldest son, but his two younger sons who will be NBA hopefuls as well.
As previously stated, Lonzo Ball isn’t inherently a problem child. He’s a little bit confident, and tends to pass the blame on to his teammates, but he’s nineteen and a basketball player. That is to be expected. When UCLA was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament, nobody expected him to own the blame. He would’ve been an outlier. Nobody expects modesty from young men who are about to become multi-millionaires, but they are expected to keep their egos in check. Lonzo has done a fine job at that, but he also has to keep his father’s ego in check.
On the court, according to UCLA Head Coach Steven Alford, Lavar Ball was a nonfactor. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Alford said that Lavar Ball was never at practice, was never around the team, and never attempted to meddle with the coaching. While this may be a good sign for any team looking to draft Lonzo, recent history may render Alford’s statements irrelevant. Since Lonzo’s season at UCLA ended, Lavar Ball has been in the news on an almost weekly basis, and never for a positive reason.
The exploits of Lavar Ball are astonishing. The man has been given a spotlight for less than a year, and has racked up enough headlines to last a lifetime. Not only did Lavar value his own brand at a ridiculous $3 billion, he also referred to his own brand as not a “Women’s company”. That’s one large portion of the population he’s alienated, but wait, there’s more!
The creatively named Big Baller Brand released their first shoe recently, at the exorbitant price of $495. Keep in mind, this is the Brand’s first shoe release. They have no set customer or fanbase who are willing to pay that much money for a shoe, sponsored by a player who hasn’t been drafted yet. Of course, Lavar Ball is the gift that keeps on giving, so when social media grilled him on the incredible price of the shoe, he tweeted, “If you can’t afford the ZO2’s [the name of the shoe], you’re NOT a BIG BALLER,”. Effectively alienating any person who doesn’t have five hundred dollars to spend on his ugly shoes. Look, I consider myself a big baller, but unlike Lavar, I have to work for my money, and have to use it on things like food, and the Campaign to Silence Lavar Ball, my new non-profit. (Photo courtesy of bigballerbrand.com)
What Lavar Ball fails to realize is that not all publicity is good publicity. As Lonzo is preparing for pre-draft workouts, the duo declined to work out for the Boston Celtics, who hold the first overall pick. Ball is currently only scheduled to work out for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, in what could be one of the most arrogant moves of all time. Somehow, the Lakers haven’t been scared off by Lavar’s exploits, but what if that changes? If the Lakers ultimately decide to pass on Lonzo, he could drop deeper into the first round. He’s a liability. Nobody else is scheduled to see him work out, and the media circus that follows him might outweigh his on-court production.
In the most terrifying thought of all, there are two more Ball brothers who have yet to enter college. LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are both expected to go to UCLA in the future, but what’s the plan when they enter the NBA? Are they only going to work out for the Lakers too? Are they planning to turn the Lakers into the Fighting Ball Brothers? I hope so, because that’d be hilarious.
By bringing attention to himself and his kids, Lavar Ball is subjecting his kids to social media’s ridicule on a regular basis. For example, on May 27th, Lavar’s AAU Youth team lost a game. By a lot. They lost 109-57, and LaMelo, the youngest son, was a big part of the reason why. Footage showed LaMelo shooting 4-30, hogging the ball, failing to pass in obvious situation, shooting air-ball after air-ball, and playing zero defense. This was a youth game, there’s no reason for the media to know about this, and no reason for the public to care about it. But since it’s Lavar and co., it’s news.
Sports media has created a monster named Lavar Ball, and now we get to watch as he sabotages himself and his family over the next several years. For the Ball Brothers to be successful, on or off the court, they’re going to be required to either control their own father, or cut him off completely; and that’s a sad thought.