The Sixers are back in action tonight, hosting the NBA’s most divisive figure, the guy who shoplifted in China and was (allegedly) bailed out by President Trump.
Wait, that’s not him, that was his brother.
Let’s try this again…
The Sixers are back in action tonight, hosting the NBA’s most divisive figure, the guy who said that he’s better than Steph Curry.
Wait, sorry, that’s not him, it was his father who said that.
The Sixers are back in action tonight, hosting the NBA’s most divisive figure, the guy who… didn’t actually do anything at all, did he?
Remind me again why Lonzo Ball gets the scrutiny and hate. Is it because his dad is an asshole? Yeah, I think that’s it. That’s basically it. LaVar Ball is an asshole, so we boo his son and say things like, “Lonzo is a bust,” or, “Lonzo is a joke.” Some people want the kid to fail because his father is loudmouthed, obnoxious, and invested in a way that’s seemingly counterproductive to his son’s success.
I’m trying to recall things that Lonzo may have said or done that would justify the Wells Fargo Center booing the hell out of him tonight. I don’t think he’s slandered any all-time greats or pimped out his clothing brand or criticized his coaches. By all accounts, he’s a quiet and respectful kid who just shows up and plays basketball. [Editor’s note: I’d boo the ever living shit out of Lonzo.]
That sentiment has been corroborated in the past by people like Steve Alford, Lonzo’s college coach at UCLA, who also said that LaVar wasn’t a distraction back then.
That’s an idea echoed by teammate Bryce Alford, the son of the coach:
Bryce Alford says Lonzo Ball "gets a rep he doesn't deserve" pic.twitter.com/y6jQ2lG5aO
— Bill Oram (@billoram) May 29, 2017
This stuff happens all the time in sports. Remember when Jahlil Okafor’s dad threatened to “slap the shit” out of a Liberty Ballers blogger? Brent Grimes’ wife insulted anybody and everybody on Twitter, calling a writer a “bitch” a while back. Kendall Marshall’s dad complained about his son’s lack of playing time. But I don’t necessarily recall anything those players said or did that would mirror the behavior of their immediate family members. Any past transgressions were unrelated.
For what it’s worth, Lonzo had a horrendous game against the Sixers a few weeks back. He finished with 2 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists, shooting 1-9 overall and 0-6 from three. T.J. McConnell put him in the spin cycle. Lonzo’s had a lot of clunkers, but also some great games as well, bagging a couple of triple-doubles and leading the Lakers with seven assists per game. He’s a 20-year-old playing in a Los Angeles spotlight magnified by things he hasn’t said or done.
So maybe the tricky part is trying to walk that tightrope of living his life while being respectful to his dad at the same time. Lonzo could easily tell LaVar to tone it down and give him a break, but he hasn’t done that, at least not publicly. Who knows what the private conversations are like.
Everything he’s said about his father has been positive and tempered, as far as I recall.
Lonzo said this in an interview from March:
“My dad’s a funny guy. People were coming up to me and saying, ‘Are you embarrassed? Your dad said you’re going to win the championship.’ No, I’m not embarrassed. I know how he’s going to act. I just go out there and play. Let him be him.”
I used to ref games a while back and experienced my share of asshole parents who yelled at their kids or the officials or the coaches, or didn’t know the rules of the game. They embarrassed themselves and maybe their son or daughter by extension, but I don’t think anybody said, “hmm, I want to see that kid fail.”
And I don’t know if that’s how Sixer fans or NBA fans feel about Lonzo Ball, but slagging a kid for things he didn’t do or didn’t say is poor form.