SoCal Dad Says Stop Hating on the Balls #stophatingonlavarball
“LaVar Ball is like a golden dragon who can lay diamond eggs. And instead of marveling at his majesty, you are embarking on a witch-hunt like ignorant villagers with pitchforks and torches.“
My brother Cecil John Howell is always saying something that makes me think. About politics, Trump and Clinton, food and diet, exercise, cultivating excellence, making a banana peel tea to sooth tension from the day... no seriously. Sometimes, I think it’s whack but other times, pure genius. He be putting the yang in my ying. Yes, a lot of times, he’s dead on the money and given his legendary ways with the thrift, wit and his own impeccable body, that’s saying something powerful. He’s a Calypsonian man, tenured international business owner, Chapman University MBA, strong son and consummate father. He real crazy too.
We’ve been chit-chatting between family, the world in general and life over the last couple of months about LaVar Ball and the Ball boys. Something just doesn’t sit right. We are both dedicated fathers, conscious but as real as it gets. If you were to ask me, I’d say G-Ps or Gangster Pops - meaning there isn’t a whole lot that we wouldn’t do for our kids. As a matter of fact, we dedicate our lives to our children.
I talked to Cecil this morning and we talked about, what else... our kids. He was busy this weekend. His youngest son had a TaeKwondo belt test, his eldest son successfully defended his debate title and had his first club match for soccer, playing both goalie and striker. Then, he tells me he had a soccer game too. I am hoarse from yelling for Shark Heart who is looking to break his first swim club records. Matter of fact, this is one of the few topics he and I totally agree on. Always. Our kids.
So the media on LaVar and Lonzo and the Baller boys has caught our attention as it enters into the zeitgeist of American life and popular culture. And while Lonzo Ball is as gifted a promoter with the gift for gab and an unapologetic belief, faith and vision for his sons (perhaps, Earl Woods or Richard Williams 2.0), the media attention has been somewhat dank.
Cecil and I both know where we got it (an aspiration for exceptional fathering) from - the OG GP, our Daddy. He wasn’t perfect but he was dead serious and managed to hit the bulls-eye of the future square in the eye with his three sons and three daughters. Cecil and I work with our children to take the spiritual practice of parenting to the next level. It’s not so much of a chore as an honor; not so much of a job as it is a calling. And it is not so much of a battle as a meditation. Anyhow, here is the post Cecil had on a Facebook post verbatim this weekend. I thought it warranted a re-print.
Enjoy but buckle up. He’ll have you flying high but drop real quick to the real. These words are fly but grounded with wisdom while looking America dead in the eye. Carry on, if you are fearless.
“You can see clearly that this young man loves and RESPECTS his father...that this young black man, respects his black father and that this black father is not afraid to define his life and times.”
OK, I must speak on this as I see the media is starting to encircle another black man, with dogs barking, readying the hangman noose.
(Here is the background in the ESPN article - Speak It Into Being)
All of you who are criticizing, hating on, or feeling that you really don't like LaVar Ball? I want to steady your pen and still your tongue and brain for a millisecond and ask you this question: Developmentally, where are your kids now? At what level are they performing their task, fulfilling their purpose, focused on their goals in life? Regardless of their age...be it sports or another goal? AND, where will YOUR KIDS be in 10 years?
Will they be performing and achieving THEIR PURPOSE in life anywhere near the level at which Lonzo Ball is performing? Will they be anywhere near his level of self-actualization?
No they will not, YOUR KIDS will be average kids, performing at an average level....doing what average kids do. And if you are in the media or have a famous name, your kids will very likely be using that name and your connections to kick-start their own success, not generating organic success born of their own hard work and dedication.
“Don't be jealous...don’t try and destroy it, just respect that.”
Don't be mad because your kids are destined to be average and struggle to meet a minimal level of success. And don't be insulted because I am telling you the ugly truth. Look at Lonzo Ball and see the passion with which he performs his craft. Take a minute to admire his supreme set of skills and his a the level of mastery he has achieved far beyond his years and peers. On top of this, step back and check his demeanor: humble, hard-working, reflective, respectful, decent and able to not only excel under fire, but bring out the best in those around him. Will anyone ever be able to say that about your kids...ever!? Probably not, most likely not
Your kids will be average, because you (yes you) never had the stomach to be exceptional and expect your children to be exceptional. Your kids walk around with their heads buried in their cell phones, struggling with weight and behavioral issues...perhaps even substance abuse and self-esteem problems....and issues you don't even see now because you are disconnected from your kids (and struggling with your own mediocrity). Meanwhile, LaVar can still grab his man-child by his neck and hug him. Don't be jealous...don’t try and destroy it. Just respect that.
You can see clearly that this young man loves and RESPECTS his father; that this young black man respects his black father and that this black father is not afraid to define his life and times. Your anger with LaVar Ball and your hatred of everything he says is a simple reflection of your own inadequacy as a parent and your personal insecurities. You cannot do what he has done. He is the mastermind and the architect of his son. He is the mastermind and architect of a champion...of an exceptional athlete and person. You have no idea how to bring this out of your kids. You read books, you research online, you go to church, yet you struggle and fail.
So, instead of sitting down and taking notes as to how to cultivate and raise self-actualized human beings from this man, you decide to take the lowest road and seethe your envy and lament in your personal inadequacy by hating on LaVar ball (Yes, that includes you, Kristine Leahy....have you been able to find your life partner, cultivate a successful relationship and raise self actualized children?....no need to answer that).
LaVar Ball is like a golden dragon who can lay diamond eggs. And instead of marveling at his majesty, you are embarking on a witch hunt like ignorant villagers with pitchforks and torches. Now you are starting to assassinate his character by attaching adjectives "threatening", "disrespectful to women", "terrifying" to his own kids, commenting on his "dark-side"....as you gather around readying the noose - Oh, grow up!!
He is a loving husband (do you even hear how he speaks about his wife?) and a loving father...who has been able to bring out the absolute best in his son Lonzo. Unless and until you can do what this great father has done, you need to sit back and study at the feet of this Master Father...and come to terms with the fact that he has done this with not only one, but 3...THREE young (black) men!
Flip the switch...especially you fathers, root for him! #howtorasiechampoins
I’ve written about this before, an article that noted the refreshing frequency with which black excellence is manifesting itself in our children these days. Given the history and recent affirmation of institutional racism against young black men and particularly our boys, LaVar Ball and his sons are a refreshing change of the narrative. Not just for black fathers but for all fathers who want more for their children, who accept the mantle of fatherhood with unbridled masculinity and fervor looking reality dead in the eye; for all fathers who realize they are not only guardians and protectors but also visionaries and wise men; for all fathers who accept fatherhood as a sacred art form as much about the men they wish to raise as the men they are and who they must become.
Whereas young black men have become martyrs to social movements with undisturbed frequency; whereas black men are incarcerated at disproportionate rate versus their white counterparts; whereas an entire system is leveraged against black bodies in a war as old as America itself, one has to ask why all the noise about LaVar Ball who has simply had an incredible vision for his sons. Is it because he is successful? Is it because he will be successful? Is it because others don’t want him to be successful? Is he a paradigm shifter? A golden dragon in times marred by evil forces and mediocrity? Is it because he will not bow his head? Is it because he is black and proud? Is it because he is too real? It is interesting there is nowhere near the chorus of dismay for the Kardashian Momager, Kris and her clan of cultural trendsetters.
The answer is neither black nor white. It is, simply, who we decide to be. Yes. We take that power, we are that power. Ballers harness that power.