There is no question that UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball has tremendous talent, as he will be a high draft pick in the 2017 NBA draft. His younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo will also attend UCLA in the near future – basketball runs in the Ball family. So why is one family getting all the media attention this past month, and what does it really mean?
Lavar Ball, the patriarch of the family, has turned his personality and charisma into a media circus. Many of Ball’s claims – beating NBA legend Michael Jordan in a game of basketball, saying Lonzo is better than Golden State Warrior point guard Steph Curry, and telling everyone they want a billion dollars for his “Big Baller Brand” – come off as arrogant.
But ESPN and other news outlets have not gotten enough of Lavar. He’s appeared on several talk shows, such as First Take and SportsNation.
To me, Lavar is simply trying to entertain. He is not actually putting pressure on his kids to become NBA legends, even though his exaggerated claims may sound like it.
In fact, Lavar is a caring father who puts his family first and is dedicated to the UCLA basketball program. He was not at the Sweet Sixteen matchup between UCLA and Kentucky because his wife was recovering from a medical procedure.
Lavar also said he was pleased that UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford is staying with the program after speculation of potentially returning to his alma matar, Indiana.
“He knows my boys,” Lavar told ESPN. “I like his style, and I’m glad he’s staying.”
After UCLA was defeated by Kentucky, Lavar was sympathetic toward Lonzo.
“When I talked to him after the game, I told him, ‘You’re going to win. You’re going to lose. It’s OK. No one goes undefeated,’” Lavar said. “They went 15-17 last year and went to the Sweet 16. This won’t be his legacy. It’s just a step to get to the ultimate goal — the NBA.”
I could see the Ball family having its own reality show in the future.