The Ball Family is the basketball world’s equivalent to a low-rent version of ‘The Kardashians’. LaVar Ball, the family’s patriarch, has done his best to keep his family and his sons in the spotlight, usually resorting to outlandishly hyperbolic statements regarding the skills of his three basketball-playing sons. Of course, he never wastes an opportunity to promote his “BBB” or “Big Baller Brand,” any time he is on camera. What is all too painfully clear is that LaVar may actually be his sons’ biggest obstacle, standing in their path toward NBA stardom.
The Oldest Escapes the Fate
His eldest son, Lonzo, was able to barely escape his dad’s reach, as he was already hailed as a one of the nation’s top basketball talents, during his only season at UCLA. After a very solid season with the Bruins, he was the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, taken by his hometown LA Lakers. Always handling his father’s bombastic comments with grace, Lonzo settled into his rookie season actually quite uneventfully. His two younger brothers, on the other hand, were dealt severe blows to both of their prospects as aspiring professional basketball players.
LiAngelo’s Mistake Sparks LaVar’s Poor Decision Making
LaVar’s middle son, LiAngelo, was the first to see his stock fall, following an incident of his own making. While attending UCLA, he was arrested for stealing sunglasses, during his team’s trip to play over in China, prompting a suspension along with further punishments from the team. After publicly refusing to thank President Trump for his role in urging the Chinese government to drop all charges against LiAngelo, the Ball Family patriarch continued down the rabbit hole of poor decisions, deciding that UCLA’s punishment was unjust. He subsequently pulled his son from the team and the university, putting his son’s future in his own unstable hands.
LaMelo’s Hype is the Ultimate Achilles Heel
Turning attention to the youngest Ball son, LaMelo was likely in the worst position, to start, out of all of the boys. Only 16 years old, he had gained nationwide notoriety and exposure, mostly due to his father’s incredible hype machine, which led to countless file footage of LaMelo’s high school and AAU games being blasted all over the internet. However, there was only one glaring problem: All of the tape on file was also being constantly analyzed and scrutinized by respected scouts and basketball minds around the league. Their conclusion? LaMelo was too small, lacked elite speed for his size, and played with more flash than skill.
As one might have guessed, LaVar eventually removed LaMelo from his high school basketball team, following, wait for it… disagreements with the coaching staff. So, entering the fall of 2017 and his sons in need of an opportunity to compete and grow, LaVar announced he was sending his sons to Lithuania, to play for a third class market against less than mediocre semi-professional talent. A less than brilliant decision, according to just about everyone familiar with NBA Europe.
The Ball Family Does Lithuania
Nevertheless, his sons would have their opportunity to play against grown men, sometimes twice their age, who would undoubtedly push them to play up to their level. What they actually did with this opportunity, however, was squander it in a major way. While team officials and teammates actually heaped some early praise on LiAngelo, LaMelo was constantly dogged by accusations of being lazy and not buying into the team’s vision. LiAngelo ended up being shut down by LaVar, due to some apparent nagging injuries, which LaVar felt needed to heal before the upcoming NBA draft combine. Other criticisms thrown LaMelo’s way were that he was far too young to play against mature grown men, and that his talent was nowhere near the level LaVar was selling.
Even though the Ball Family had picked up and moved to small town in Lithuania, in the middle of the winter, LaVar just could not stand the treatment of his boys. Their teammates criticisms and what he viewed as the coach’s willful disrespect in not playing 16 year old LaMelo, ultimately pushed LaVar over the edge. Once again, he pulled his sons from another basketball team, uprooting them from their contractual obligation to the Lithuanian team, and ending his family’s reality show’s stint in the small European town. All the while, instrumentally destroying any real opportunity his boys have at being properly prepared in pursuing their dream of making an NBA roster.
Lessons to be Learned…
We can learn from LaVar Ball’s mistakes, though I doubt he will take anything positive away. Thinking the world is out to get you and acting reactionary toward every changing development is social justice warriorism at its core. The moment the words “lazy” and “arrogant” were uttered, the countdown to the Ball family’s departure from Lithuania was initiated. In today’s world, facts must give way to “sensitivity” or “feelings.” Objectivity is frowned upon by a lot of minorities who have bought into the Democrat party’s leftward polarization. LaVar Ball is acting just as triggered as a millennial who is told to get out of mommy’s basement and get a job. His sons have flaws, and people are doing him a service by pointing them out. Yet, in the end, LaVar always has to have the last say. He always has to make it about himself. He will not allow his sons to be criticized. In doing so, he’s stamped out any of the momentum his boys had built during each of their respected runs with their former teams. It’s most likely impossible, but these boys must distance themselves from their father if they want a fair shot at ever making an NBA roster.