LaVar Ball has recently been making headlines with headline-worthy hot takes on the topic of his oldest son, Lonzo Ball. If this were LaVar Ball's world, the Los Angeles Lakers would have the first pick this June, Lonzo Ball would be picked first overall over super prospect Markelle Fultz, and 'Zo would carry the Lakers to the #1 seed in the Western Conference next season with the eldest Ball brother posting stats better than Stephen Curry did in his MVP season.
I mean, as "cool" as that would be (in a weird, twisted way), it's far removed from reality. If you've ever seen LaVar Ball speak, though, it sounds accurate relative to his ambitions. He has high hopes for all three of his kids, even if they aren't realistic. Don't get me wrong here; Lonzo Ball is going to be an incredible basketball player. He is
arguably the best passer in this draft class, and he's the clear number two behind the stud in Washington, Markelle Fultz. A case could even be made for certain teams to take Ball #1 overall, though that would be an incredibly risky move from any front office. The point is that Ball is the real deal. He's going to be a great player in the NBA even if his jumpshot is the prettiest ugliest thing you've ever seen.
In any case, this has little to do with 'Zo's playing ability. He's really good, but he's not as good as his father tells everyone he is. And truthfully, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Plenty of parents shower their kids with praise and compliments that goes beyond their children's actual ability. It usually leads to their kids developing self-confidence, and that's incredibly useful. It's a natural and parental thing to do. If you've ever seen Lonzo Ball play basketball, you know that confidence isn't something that he lacks.
LaVar has taken that concept and multiplied it by a factor of ten. He really has bred supreme confidence in his kids, especially the youngest, LaMelo Ball. The two elder Ball brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo, are stone-cold killers that ooze confidence with their play and demeanor. LaMelo is more like his father in that they push and force the confidence out. He's still young, so he has time. All three of the brothers' confidence speaks volumes to how LaVar raised his kids, and it's served them, for better and for worse, on the basketball court. They have the moxie (I've always wanted to use this word) to pull up from NBA range on high school courts. They have the guts to chuck up halfcourt shots on a whim. Here's where LaVar Ball succeeded, though: the kids have practiced enough to back it up.
At least they can back up what's done on the court with more stuff that they can do on the court. What I mean by that is that they've earned the respect to pull up from 30 feet out because they can actually routinely hit that shot. The coach at Chino Hills High School lets them take contested threes while being triple-teamed because they can actually routinely hit those shots, no matter how terrible that decision is. What they can't back up is wild predictions and hypothetical statements and comparisons. It's ludicrous that Ball would compare his eldest son to Stephen Curry right now. To literally everyone else on the planet without the last name "Ball," that statement is ridiculous.
Here's why it doesn't matter: We really shouldn't care how this man raises his children, and I mean that in the most polite way possible. If he wants to say these things and "add pressure" (though in these kids' case, I don't believe that really affects them), then so be it. If he wants to gas his kids up like a normal father, that's his prerogative. The reason that this is news is because we keep giving him an outlet and we keep overreacting to everything he says. And to everyone saying "Yo, Lonzo needs to tell his dad to shut up. It's a distraction blah blah blah," I laugh. Why don't you try to walk up to your dad and tell him to stop talking. If Lonzo isn't distracted by it (and it doesn't appear that he is), then it is what it is and we move on. If it is a distraction, I'm sure they've had polite conversations about it.
I do think LaVar Ball is pushing it with this whole "Big Baller" brand thing that the family has established. The reason why Michael Jordan and LeBron James were able to establish lasting and strong brands in the NBA was due primarily to their ability on the basketball court. This brings me back to the fact that Lonzo Ball is a really good basketball player, but we'll have to see him prove it on NBA courts next season. LaVar should wait for that before he starts making wild declarations. It might seem like he's trying to leech off of his sons' success, but I don't think it's that simple. Regardless, all of this falls on Lonzo Ball's shoulders to make this brand worthwhile starting with his first year in the league next season.
Can he handle it? Absolutely; he's confident.
Gee, I wonder where he got that from.