The basketball mecca that is March Madness has commenced and work and school take more of a backseat than before. When March Madness ends, April sadness begins. No football, college basketball is over, the NBA playoffs are way too long, and the best part about baseball is hitting up your city’s minor league team for $1 beer and $1 hot dog nights (Tennessee Smokies, ftw).
This year might be different because of the emergence of one man. One man who doesn’t play a sport. One man who believes he would “kill Michael Jordan 1-on-1” in their basketball primes. One man who believes his oldest son, a freshman in college, is already better than a two-time NBA MVP. One man who said the shoe deal his sons will one day inevitably accept will be no less than one BILLION dollars. This man’s name is LaVar Ball, and over the course of the next 3-5 years, he is going to be the best and worst thing to happen to basketball.
For those sports fan who live under rock and don’t know LaVar Ball or his raspy voice , he is the unofficial promoter, marketer, hype man, and just happens to also be the outspoken father of UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball and high school phenoms LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. For perspective, Lonzo a projected Top-5 lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft drawing comparisons to Jason Kidd, LiAngelo scored 73 points in game earlier this season, and LaMelo scored 92 in another. Safe to say that these boys can “Ball”. (Insert a Kirk Cousins “YOU LIKE THAT?!” for the VERY not clever pun I just used)
Just like every other article regarding this family though, this has little to nothing to do with the potential of how good the Ball brothers can be. This is about their father, LaVar, who makes some of Donald Trump’s comments sound like they make sense.
LaVar The Hero
In an era of basketball where trash-talking is frowned upon, pussification throughout the game is becoming widespread, and outward confidence in one’s abilities is less prevalent, LaVar Ball might be a raspy breath of fresh air. If there is one thing he doesn’t lack, it is that outward confidence. While some may think his outlandish comments cross a line, looking at the performance of his sons, his words might be justified. Lonzo Ball, as a freshman in college, is not at all currently better than an All-NBA, 2x MVP, NBA Champion, Stephen Curry, who, some people forget was also an absolute stud for four years at Davidson.
This comparison might seem bizarre, but think about your childhood; didn’t your parents always tell you to strive to be the best? The difference is that the better majority of us took the road more traveled into pseudo-alcoholism and post-grad poverty after 4-7 years of college, whereas the Ball brothers, lead and encouraged by their father, probably spent more time on a basketball court than any of us ever did in a class room and / or a gym combined. So why shouldn’t he believe that his children are on track to be the best? LaVar raised his kids to be the best. To this point, he doesn’t appear to be wrong.
In the history of basketball, have we seen anything like these brothers? When you think of brothers in the NBA, or in this case, destined for the NBA, who notably comes to mind? Brent, Rick, and Drew Barry? Yeah- I don’t think you even knew there was such person as Drew Barry. Pau and Marc Gasol? Fair point- these brothers are pretty good. Pau is borderline a Hall of Fame player, but Marc is just a very good player in this NBA. Other than that, who ya got? None of this Brook and Robin Lopez or Blake and Taylor Griffin bullshit either. Regardless, with the money shoe companies throw at today’s NBA stars, if Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo live up to the hype, is a package deal worth $1 billion dollars for the three of them out of the question 3-5 years down the road? Not at all.
LaVar The Villain
Not all is going to hyped up billion dollar deals for LaVar Ball. It is possible NBA executives, and maybe even UCLA down the line, might be hesitant to affiliate themselves with some of his perceived antics. Is he going to be the Dad who raises hell when his son gets pulled from a game? Is he going to be the Dad who gets his son in trouble with the NCAA? Is he going to be the Dad who manipulates his way through the NBA attempting to have his three sons play on the same team? That team will be my Lakers, just so everyone knows. These are all potential issues LaVar’s deep involvement in his sons’ lives could cause. It’s an absurd amount of pressure to put on 3 boys under the age of 20 with futures as bright as theirs.
Now, this is all hypothetical. For all I know, LaVar Ball could be quiet as a mouse when his boys all hit the NBA and let their respective games speak. Either way, when basketball season comes to a close, listen for that deep, raspy voice, and I’ll bet something interesting will comes out.
P.S. – He has a wife named Tina. I’ve never heard her speak.