A few weeks ago I set out on a mission: I was going to write an article about how overrated LaMelo Ball is. However, if you read that last article (bump), you might remember that I came to quite a different conclusion.
After watching some highlight reels, checking some stats, and going over the analysis of LaMelo's shot (in other words, after doing actual research) I landed on the pro-Melo side of the spectrum. While he may be a cherry picker and may have a weird shot, he shows flashes of the same on-court awareness and passing ability that make his brother, Lonzo, special. And he's also only 15 YEARS OLD!
But enough about LaMelo. This article's not about him, or Lonzo, or even the "alleged" third Ball brother (LiAngelo or something). This is about the man on the top. The patriarch of the Ball family. The Grand Poobah of the Ball dynasty, if you will.
That's right LaVar, I'm coming for you! You glorified over-involved, helicopter parent!
At least, I was coming for you. Much to my chagrin, I set out to write this article about how much I hate you, andddddddddddd.....
I ended up on the other side of the spectrum: I think you're a pretty smart man.
Let's take a little detour: when I first heard about the Ball family, I immediately wanted to hate all of them. The way Lavar talked about how great his sons were. How they dominated high school basketball. Their ridiculous shooting forms.
At first glance, everything about them was unlikeable. But in reality, Lonzo is almost indescribably fun to watch, LaMelo is a stud who's been starting as varsity point guard since he was 14 YEARS OLD, and LaVar?
Well, he's still crazy, he's still pretty unlikeable, but I think he might be a genius.
Now, if you watched the SC Feature Ball or Fall, it becomes evident that Lavar most certainly has some screws loose (such as when he talks about marrying his volleyball-star wife for the sole purpose of making athletic children). However, he also makes a lot of good points.
When questioned about whether or not he's harming his son by putting a target on his back, Lavar responds with "How do you think he [Lonzo] is going to get better if people don't come harder at him?" And when asked about how he feels about people saying that he's using his son's as money-making tools, he responds with "Well what do you think UCLA is doing?"
Those aren't just good answers: those are GREAT answers. When you look at things from Lavar's perspective, everything he's doing, the pressure he's putting on his kids could, potentially, break them. But it won't: because his kids are a bunch of stud basketball savants.
And if he really believes that pressure makes diamonds, why not go all in? Why not say that he could've beat Michael Jordan in a game of 1v1? Why not tell reporters that his son is better than Steph Curry?
Why not say you're looking for a billion-dollar shoe contract? What's the worse that can happen? He doesn't get a billion dollars and he's right back to where he started. But who knows, maybe there is some executive out there willing to drop $1 billion on an exclusive line of Ball Brothers shoes.
Thanks to Lavar's attitude, everything the Ball family does is a headline. There are plenty of athletic siblings out there, but not many of them become household names. Lavar isn't just raising three incredibly athletic kids: he's (almost literally) building a brand of instantly recognizable basketball prodigies.
He pushed his kids because they wanted to be pushed, and he's trying to capitalize for the benefit of his ENTIRE family, so what's wrong with that? It's simple: more media exposure equals more popularity equals more money.
So if you think (like I did) that Lavar Ball is nothing more than that annoying parent at a kid's basketball game, remember this:
(a) The Balls are a gazillion times more athletic than any scrub kid that plays in your town rec league
(b) Lavar Ball is a business mastermind disguised as (whether intentional or not) a pompous asshole
Also, remember that LiAngelo exists. I know it may seem unlikely because he only appeared in about half a second of that Sportscenter feature, but trust me, I've seen videos of him before.