By: Matt Brouillette
The Ball family has been called the Kardashians of the NBA. Since the oldest son, Lonzo, was in high school, the Ball family has been in the media due to the high caliber that the three sons were able to play basketball at. The Ball brothers, Lonzo (20), Liangelo (19), and Lamelo (16), became stars when videos of them playing high school basketball began to show up on all different types of media platforms. Their high school, Chino Hills in California, was seen as the top high school basketball program in the country. This was in mainly due to the Ball brothers. As of recently, the most famous member of the ball family has been their father, Lavar. Many sports analysts have been debating if Lavar Ball has been using the success of his children to put himself in the media, as well as promote his own business, Big Baller Brand.
When Lonzo decide to attend UCLA on a basketball scholarship, it was known that he would only stay for one year before declaring for the NBA draft. Lavar knew this better than anyone, so he continued to talk to the media about Lonzo’s future. He began to make comments that his son, a freshman in college, was already better than the reigning MVP in the NBA, Stephan Curry. It did not stop there. Lavar had also made public statements that the only NBA team that Lonzo would play for would be the Los Angeles Lakers and that all other twenty-nine teams should not consider drafting him. These comments did not stop after Lonzo was drafted either. The night that Lonzo was selected by the Lakers, press immediately went up to Lavar where he told them that his son would not only lead the Lakers to the playoffs in his first season, but he would also win the rookie of the year award.
Lonzo’s start to his first NBA season was nothing like what Lavar had been boasting about. He started out with the worst shooting percentage for any player to start out their career at 30.9%. The Lakers also had one of the worst records in the NBA over that time period. This did not stop Lavar from sharing his mind though. He continued to talk to the media saying that everything that was happening was the fault of the head coach, Luke Walton. He continued to bash the Lakers organization to the point that the Lakers had to start enforcing the “Lavar Ball Rule”. This stated that press is prohibited to talk to families of the players at any time while they are inside of the Staples Center. This was not the name of the rule that was created, but the media called it this because they saw that this rule was directed at Lavar. This did not stop his antics. Instead of keeping to himself, he decided to state that Lonzo will not come back to the Lakers when his contract ends. Instead, he will go to any team that signs his two brothers, Lamelo and Liangelo.
Outside of the NBA, Lavar has made his presence known by his decision to take his youngest son, Lamelo, out of high school because he was made ineligible for the NCAA due to an action by Lavar. Lavar is the owner of a company called Big Baller Brand, where he sells clothing articles for high prices. He also gave his sons, Lonzo and Lamelo, their own customized shoe with their name on it. Since Lonzo is in the NBA, there is no violation for him to use his name to make money. Lamelo, on the other hand, is not allowed to do this because it is a violation of the NCAA amateurism policy. He would no longer be able to play for any college basketball team, so Lavar decided it would be better to take his son out of high school early, and have him play professional basketball overseas in Lithuania.
The most recent incident involving Lavar Ball is that he is trying to start his own Junior Basketball Association (JBA) to rival the NCAA. This new league would pay players coming out of high school for the one year that they need before going to the NBA. In order to get people to join the JBA, he has been direct messaging the top recruits in the nation on social media telling them that they have been “invited to change history”. Tyler Herro, a basketball player committed to the University of Kentucky, received one of these messages from Lavar. Forty-one other players received a similar message to this one. All of these comments and actions by Lavar ball have come in the last two years. It raises the question; is there anything Lavar Ball will not do in order to get into the light of the media?