LaVar Ball is everywhere. Depending on when you’re reading this, he may be on WIP right now. He’s been on TV and radio non-stop, not only hyping up his son(s), but also spinning insane bullshit about himself. He said Lonzo is better than Steph Curry right now and that he’d beat Michael Jordan in his prime one-on-one, he said he wants a $1 billion, 10-year shoe deal for his three kids. He’s unavoidable.
And he’s divisive. Part of me wishes that if I were as good as Lonzo Ball, I’d want my dad to be acting the same way– hyping me, looking out for my career, keeping any money I make free from outside influencers. But is it just an image? A publicity ploy? Will he be a problem for whichever NBA team employs his son? After reading a new USA Today piece, the answers seem to be no, no, and a big ol’ YES.
Andrew Joseph wrote about LaVar for USA Today’s For the Win, focusing mainly on the clashes he had with the head coach at Chino Hills, where his two younger sons play high school ball (and where Lonzo played). It opens with a moment of boisterous stage dad-ery where the Chino Hills team is torn between running their coach’s defensive set and Ball’s, which he’s screaming from the stands. From there, it gets pretty bad:
Gilling remembers an incensed Ball bolting straight for the locker room.
“He comes to me and says, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m trying to win the game.’
“He turns around and walks to our locker room,” Gilling said. “I said, ‘LaVar, don’t go into the locker room.’ He continues walking. I said, ‘LaVar, why are you trying to embarrass me?’ And he just kept walking and goes into the locker room. He’s in there sitting down with the team. And I’m like, ‘LaVar, get out!’”
Gilling says Ball refused to leave the locker room, so Gilling told his team to follow him back to the hotel while Ball’s sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, stayed behind.
When the Chino Hills team made it back to their hotel, Ball still hadn’t cooled down. In fact, he was just getting started.
“An assistant coach comes up to me and tells me that he sees LaVar rallying the team up,” Gilling said. “I guess he got them out of their rooms on the 18th floor and tells the team that it was his system that won. That we’re doing what he says. ‘I run Chino Hills! I run UCLA, about to run the NBA!’
“He pretty much downplays me at the same time. My assistant coach sees him and says to him, ‘That’s not right. Is there any middle ground?’ He says, ‘No, there’s no middle ground.’”
We dealt with K.J.’s mom (briefly), Kendall Marshall’s dad (briefly), and Chuk Okafor (who, physical threats aside, really isn’t so bad). But what happens to the Ball kids when their dad doesn’t like the coach? Gilling told Joseph that he had games where he wouldn’t even talk to LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, while it was “noticeable that things were being said at home, and brought back to the gym in a way of, like, they’re not listening to the coaches.” LaVar didn’t deny it, and he even implied that his kids weren’t playing their hardest because their dad didn’t like the coach:
“If we would have gotten along, we would have been in the state title easy. But he’s trying to have a little resistance towards me. And I’m like, ‘Man, try and do it your way. That’s why you lost three games.’
“Because once he run and just play and when my son really wants to play for you, we’re gonna do good. But when you have any kind of resistance towards me, and you the head coach, it don’t work out that good. I already knew he was going to lose that game.”
Ball is essentially saying that his kids didn’t play their hardest in a way of siding with their dad against the coach. And he’s bragging about it. For someone who seems to need his face in front of a camera so often, that’s a very misguided play.
Lonzo Ball is very talented. He won’t slip past #2 in the draft. But if I had the choice, I would pick someone with one of those top two picks whose dad isn’t a dick.
"I want to know why I'm not getting a billion dollars (in a shoe deal). Is it because I'm black?" -LaVar Ball
— Carlin & Reese (@CarlinReeseWIP) March 24, 2017