Up until a few months ago, you likely had no idea who Lavar Ball was. These days, you can’t seem to hear enough about him. And not for good reason.
Ball is the father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball, and Chino Hills High School phenoms LaMelo Ball and LiAngelo Ball. All three are surefire talents bound to make the NBA. Lavar’s eldest son, Lonzo, is averaging 14.6 points, 7.7 assists (first in the nation), and 6.1 rebounds, leading the top offence in the country. Lonzo’s talents will be on full display in front of the entire nation, with UCLA set to play its first NCAA tournament game on March 17th. The younger Ball brothers, LaMelo and LiAngelo, aren’t too shabby themselves.
Lavar has used his kids’ nationwide platform to make outlandish remarks, many of which are untrue. While he certainly has reason to be optimistic about his sons’ NBA potential, Lavar has taken his comments too far. Some (myself included) may question whether he lives in an alternate reality.
Let’s take a look at one of the 49-year old’s most glaring comments, and the possible motivation behind it.
Lonzo Ball > Stephen Curry
“I’m gonna tell you right now, he better than Steph Curry right now….Put Steph Curry on UCLA right now, and put my boy on Golden State, and watch what happens.”
Look, Lavar, we understand you have confidence in your kids. But don’t you think comparing your 19-year old freshman son to one of the top 10 current-NBA players and arguably the best shooter of all-time is a little ridiculous?
In only his eighth NBA season, Curry is already tenth in all-time three point shots made (with 1842 of them). Curry is the back-to-back MVP. He knocked down a record 402 three-pointers on 45% three-point shooting, just last season. That shattered his previous single-season record of 286 from the 2014-15 season.
While Lonzo does feature an above-average shot as part of his toolbox of skills (he knocks down 41% of his threes on 178 attempts), he pales in comparison to Curry, even in the Davidson-product’s freshman season. Curry finished the 2006-07 collegiate season with 122 three-pointers, knocking them down at nearly the same rate Lonzo has (40.8%). Curry would nail 162 threes on 44% shooting in his sophomore campaign, then average 28.6 PPG in his junior year en route to his second consecutive Southern conference player of the year award.
Lonzo may be an excellent player, but Lavar comparing his eldest son to Stephen Curry is absolutely ludicrous. Not only that, but the comparison puts unneeded pressure on his son to perform in an other-worldly fashion night in and night out, something a 19-year old may have trouble doing. Lonzo surely has high expectations for himself; he doesn’t need his father setting expectations for him.
Potential Motivation Behind the Comment
It’s no secret Lavar has an incredible amount of confidence in his three sons. Lavar must realize that the comments he shares with the media are bound to go viral, and in turn increase the amount of consumers who know the names, “Lonzo, “LaMelo”, and “LiAngelo”. If Lavar’s sole motivation is to get his sons’ names out there, then he’s certainly succeeding. That being said, the way Lavar is publicizing his sons’ names puts his own name in the spotlight more so than his kids. Whether that is intentional is unclear, but the comments are causing a distraction for his sons more than anything else.
Lonzo has already had to answer questions about his father. While Lonzo may defend his father by saying he isn’t a distraction to him, the fact he’s answering questions about his father is inherently a distraction to begin with.
In the case of LaMelo and LiAngelo, scouts are already aware of Chino Hills and the NBA potential on that team. Both LaMelo and LiAngelo don’t need their father boasting about how his sons’ deserve a $1 billion shoe deal. LaMelo and LiAngelo are still in high school, but as Lavar says via Bleacher Report’s Rob Goldberg, “A billion dollars, it has to be there.” The largest shoe deal in NBA history belonging to LeBron James is estimated around $1 billion. To even think your kids warrant a $1 billion shoe deal with not a minute of NBA experience to their name is preposterous. Then again, this is the same guy who said he would “kill” Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one.
Here’s a look at Lavar’s college statistics compared to Jordan’s:
Jordan (in three years at North Carolina): 17.7 PPG, 5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG.
Ball (in 26 games at Washington State): 2.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.1 BPG.
Jordan would win that game every time.
Hyping up your sons’ is understandable. What Lavar is doing, though, gives hyping up a whole new meaning.
All stats accurate as of March 14, 2017.