LaVar Ball is nothing short of a polarizing figure. Dating back to the 2017 NBA Draft, LaVar has been in the cultural zeitgeist of sports talk all around the country. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Lavar Ball is the father to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, combo guard LiAngelo Ball who is probably most known from his debacle involving theft in China during his short stint at UCLA, and LaMelo Ball who is projected to be a top 5 pick in this year’s NBA draft. LaVar Ball never enjoyed much of a professional career himself, in fact, he never played a regular season game at the highest level. Despite a fairly extensive collegiate career playing basketball, he pursued a playing career in football. He enjoyed a little bit of time in NFL Europe before ending his career in 1995 as a member of the Carolina Panther’s practice squad. In March of 2019, Mr. Ball himself was kind enough to join hosts Sharp and Shapiro. Contextually speaking, this interview was conducted close to the end of 2018-2019 NBA season. At this point, Lonzo had not yet been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans and LaMelo was not being talked about as a potential first overall pick. Here are a few highlights from the interview:
“You have these other games, they make the media like, oh they just made this for his son. But let me ask you this, who wouldn’t want to make a game [the Big Baller Brand All-American game] for their son?
There is no doubt there are many fathers all around the country who would like to create a display game for their sons. I do not think anyone can claim that LaVar Ball does not love his children. Love it or hate it, his antics have increased his sons’ draft stock. In retrospect, he is touting LaMelo to perfection and he has never played a game at the collegiate level. On November 29th, 2019 LaMelo had his second straight triple double in the Australian National Basketball League with an impressive stat line of 25 points, 12 rebound, and 10 assists. He is being seriously considered for the first overall pick as of the end of 2019.
“I created the brand (Big Baller Brand) for the family. It is a family brand”
Is it really a family brand? On Match 24th, 2019 it was revealed that both Lonzo Ball and LaMelo Ball were parting ways from the Big Baller Brand. It turned out that BBB’s cofounder Alan Foster had stolen a reported $1.5 million dollars from Lonzo Ball. This seemingly had nothing to do with LaMelo but in Lonzo’s Instagram post announcing his move to Nike had commented, “love u brotha, thanks for getting us out my G”. There was clearly something really wrong within the company. It was not enough to estrange themselves from their father, but it is certainly not good publicity for LaVar when two of your three sons gladly leave the brand.
“I already told them who I want the coach to be, it is the guy sitting next to him (former coach Luke Walton). His name is Bryan Shaw.”
As we all know, Bryan Shaw was never considered for the Lakers head coaching job. Following the 2019 season, the Lakers coaching staff was changed drastically. They ended up going with Frank Vogel as the head coach with Lionel Hollins and Jason Kidd as the two major assistants. It seems to be working out well for the team who has started at an amazing 17-2 which ties a franchise record this far into the season. Bryan Shaw is currently not employed as a coach in the NBA.
Looking back at the Big Baller Brand All-American game.
I thought it would be interesting to look at the rosters from this inaugural game. Of the 19 players on the roster only 2 of them are projected to be drafted next year one of which is LaMelo Ball. The other player is Washington Husky Jaden McDaniels. This may not be as prestigious in comparison to NCAA’s All-American team in which all but 2 were not drafted into the NBA. Those two actually returned to college basketball to play in their senior years of basketball. It would not appear being in Big Baller Brand All-American team is quite at that level yet.
Want to hear this full interview or anything Vegas Take related? Just look up “Vegas Take” anywhere you listen to the podcasts.