Lonzo Ball is surely a top-touted prospect in this year’s NBA draft, and with the speculation rising, Lonzo might even be selected No. 1 overall. But despite his great court vision and his unselfish demeanor, his father has seemingly taken the attention off his son.
No doubt Lonzo has talent flowing through his veins but will it be enough for NBA franchises to look past his outspoken father? His father, Lavar Ball, isn’t known for his talent on the court, having averaged just 2.2 points per game and a field goal and free throw percentage of under 45 percent in 26 games during his lone season at the University of Washington in 1987-88.
*Lavar did play basketball at Cal-State Los Angeles later on and had success there but this was a D-II college.*
Anyhow, Chino Hills high school coach, Stephen Gilling, has offered some insight to the horrors he faced in dealing with Lavar well before his son stepped foot on the UCLA campus last fall. During a high school basketball tournament in Las Vegas, Gilling said he could hear Lavar screaming “double team, double team!”, and the team would double-up on the ball handler. At the half of one game, the Huskies trailed by double-digits. Gilling states he went to the locker room and told his team to play man defense and they’ll get stops. Chino Hills wound up winning that game by eight points. After the game, Lavar went to Gilling and asked him what he was doing and Gillings response was, “winning games”. Ball proceeded to enter the locker room and when asked to leave, he refused.
Later that evening, Gilling stated he heard Lavar in the 18th floor of their hotel hyping up the players, stating it was his strategy that won Chino Hills the game earlier that night. Lavar could be heard saying, “this is my team, I run Chino Hills, and I’m about to run the NBA!”
Lavar’s outrageous statements have gotten him the attention he has been asking for. Statements such as he would beat Michael Jordan in one-on-one, or that Nike will be our competitors, and that Lonzo is already better than Stephen Curry. While we all want father’s to care about their children’s well-being and future success, Lavar may very well damage Lonzo’s career shortly after it starts.
In most mock drafts, Lonzo is slotted as the second overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers. Regardless, whoever drafts Lonzo should be prepared to deal with Lavar’s unreserved opinions on the team and Lonzo. Lavar Ball is not good for the NBA, specifically the team that drafts his son.
Maybe it’s time Lonzo starts to do what the rest of NBA athletes do and that is deal with an agent or directly with their specific franchise and not allow his father to be his mouthpiece. There is tremendous pressure on Lonzo to be great the minute he steps onto an NBA floor and if there’s one thing we can say for certain, is that just because you have great talent in college basketball, doesn’t mean that talent will mean much in the NBA. Here’s hoping Lonzo can tell his father to let his play on the court do the talking.