UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball has helped lead the Bruins back to the top of college basketball. The Bruins are a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and that is in large part to Ball having averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game. The youngster from Anaheim, CA has been so impressive during his debut season that he is already considered to be the 2nd best prospect leading up to the NBA draft.
Considering all the success that Ball has had and is expected to have in the future, it’s easy to see why his parents would be exceptionally proud of their oldest son. But even so, his father, LaVar Ball, may be going overboard. Scratch that. LaVar Ball is going overboard in his adulation for his son.
LaVar’s over-the-top, braggadocios praise of his son started earlier this season. The elder Ball offered this comparison of his son to the NBA’s reigning back-to-back MVP winner, Steph Curry:
“I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing. He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”
LaVar considers Lonzo to be better than Curry right now. Not in the future. Right now.
Since LaVar believes that UCLA is being led by a freshman who is better than Curry now, it is easy to understand LaVar’s NCAA Tournament guarantee. UCLA will win the National Championship. It’s as if it’s a stone cold Vegas lock from Brent Musberger himself.
Want more? Oh, there’s more.
LaVar, the Fountain of Spout himself, has told the world that Lonzo will find the NBA game to be even easier than the college game.
“It is going to get easier for Lonzo as we go,” LaVar said. “When he gets to the pro’s, the game is even faster and that’s when he’s at his best. You trade in Bryce [Alford] for D-Wade, [Isaac] Hamilton for [Andre] Iguodala, get away from TJ Leaf and give him Anthony Davis.”
Look at that. He even managed to throw Lonzo’s current teammates under the bus. But remember, Lonzo is so phenomenal that he will elevate UCLA to a guaranteed national championship. His teammates must feel like the luckiest supporting cast on the face of the Earth. I guess Lonzo is Vincent Chase while the rest of the team are a bunch of Johnny Dramas.
LaVar is already branding his son. There’s family friend Darren Moore who is paid to essentially babysit Lonzo. There’s the hand selected paparazzi that snaps pictures and takes video of Ball and his boys for a potential reality show. And there is also Alan Foster who is already working on a basketball shoe for Lonzo.
Speaking of that signature basketball shoe, LaVar has already set the asking price of Lonzo’s shoe deal at $1 billion. But based on LaVar’s rhetoric, I’m not sure who this budding shoe deal is really for. LaVar or Lonzo?
“A billion dollars, it has to be there,” Ball told USATODAY. “That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 mil over 10 years.”
If you thought dance moms were bad, LaVar tops them all. Before he was married, he set out to have his own set of “Ball boys.” You see? LaVar’s goal in life seems to have always been to live vicariously through his sons.
LaVar did play college basketball. He played for Kelvin Sampson at Washington State. LaVar claims that Michael Jordon wouldn’t have stood a chance against him in a game of 1-on-1. Never mind that LaVar averaged all of 2.2 points per game for the Cougars.
LaVar and Lonzo are going down the same road that Marv Marinovich took his son, Todd. Todd was a hotshot quarterback recruit from San Leandro, CA and he chose to stay close to home and play for USC. Like Lonzo, Marinovich had been groomed by his father to be a star athlete since before he was born. Marinovich’s life didn’t turn out the way his father had planned.
Being a proud parent is only natural. Being an overbearing parent who lives through their child can ultimately lead to a detrimental upbringing and even worse adulthood.
LaVar was never going to beat Jordan. As for Lonzo being better than Steph Curry right now? LaVar needs to give his son support while allowing him the space needed to mature on his own. That is all any child needs. And if that leads to a National Championship for the Bruins and multiple NBA MVP awards for Lonzo? So be it.
E-mail Seth at seth [dot] merenbloom [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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