Unless you live under a rock or are completely ignorant when it comes to the world of headline news, you have already been following the LaVar Ball circus. From his Big Baller Brand (BBB) to his self-indulgent views, LaVar has turned the NBA into a TMZ special event that includes free admission.
Whether you believe what he says or buy into what he sells, you have to admit that he is playing his cards in the right pattern even if he’s a little ways off from a full deck. He has a mic thrown his way by every reporter in America and has already been seen doing his best wrestling impression on WWE television. Sorry LaVar, but Dwayne Johnson you will never be. He has turned into a must-see TV cameo, but one where his son Lonzo remains a lost voice.
Through all the negative criticisms of his Dad’s antics and the overly confident views, Lonzo has remained a quiet voice that seems to just want let his play speak for itself. So why all the hate? Why do people want this young man to fail at the craft he has been working hard to learn for 19 years? I think Jalen Rose said it best on draft night when he said, “Don’t blame the kid for the hype man.” This is what LaVar is and will continue to be.
In the same token, looking back in time, he has some similarities of Don King. Did you hope Mike Tyson would fail because of his promoter? For all the Philadelphia fans who were lucky enough to watch Eric Lindros don the orange and black, did you hope he would be overmatched because of his parents?
Theoretically, we could go back in time and bring up several examples that paint the same picture. For all the hate on legendary agent Drew Rosenhaus, did you pray for all the players he represented to tumble, including DeSean Jackson? If I am correct, the fans in Philadelphia were siding with DJax. What makes Lonzo Ball an exception to the rule?
Some may feel I am going to extremes here, but I feel I bring up some validity with my views. Lonzo has never come out publicly and said he was better than Steph Curry or Joel Embiid needs to get on the court. What he does say is in his family they are taught not to go back at their parents, which is a sign of respect that quite frankly more kids in this world need to learn. If you look at some of his answers to the interview questions below, you tell me if he sounds like a kid who should be hated on with regularity in the very early birth of his NBA career.
Q: Do you think the way your Dad handles your career is going to change once you get into the league?
A: He’s always going to be my dad, so he’s always going to be there. But I wouldn’t say he handles my career. I’m my own player, I’m my own person; it’s that he’s there and he’s a great support system.
Q: But what about the wild statements, like when he said you’re better than Steph Curry?
A:My dad has always been very positive and he always sets the bar high for me to go chase it. Like I said, I’m used to that. I heard that plenty of times, it’s just that when he finally said it to the media everyone went crazy.
Q:Over the course of your high school and college career, people have compared you to guys like Penny, Magic, and Jason Kidd. Which past or current player should you be compared to?
A:I try to be just my own player, so I really don’t compare myself to nobody. The crowd that I’m compared to is pretty good, so I’m happy about that. My favorite player growing up was LeBron, so I take the most from his game.
LaVar Ball has brought plenty of publicity to his family, but to go to the extreme of attacking his son personally on social media and hoping for this young man to fail is ridiculous. What we should want is for Lonzo Ball to be so good that it helps give the NBA more firepower to bring back the talent it sorely misses. Bill Bellamy once said, “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.” So in Lonzo’s case, “Don’t hate the player, hate the promoter!”
It’s a backward sports society. It’s time to fix it.
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