The Los Angeles Lakers knew what they were signing up for when they selected Lonzo Ball out of UCLA in the 2017 NBA Draft. Drafting Lonzo Ball meant dealing with his outspoken father, LaVar Ball. It’s a package deal.
So if the Lakers had any actual belief they would be able to handle the elder Ball’s antics and commentary on the sidelines about the Lakers as if no problems would arise, they were sorely mistaken.
It’s almost amazing it took this long, but the Lakers reportedly had a meeting with LaVar Ball to ask him to cool it with his comments about Lakers head coach Luke Walton in an attempt to create a more stable working environment for the entire team.
We’ll see if the meeting called by Magic Johnson ends up smoothing things over, but LaVar Ball seems happy with the result of the meeting. In his usual confident manner, Ball said the meeting went well and everybody is on the same page as it relates to the Lakers.
“It was the best thing, man. Everybody’s going to try to make it an ego thing, like I’m trying to tell them what to do or they’re trying to tell me to tone it down,” Ball explained to ESPN. “It’s not about that. It’s about coming together and to get a solution to this problem.”
From the Lakers’ perspective, they are fine with Ball expressing himself publicly as long as it doesn’t cross a line that leads to friction within the team and locker room. When Ball goes a bit far in his unfiltered commentary, especially when it targets Walton, that is when the Lakers have to step in.
Disputes with family members of players is hardly anything new to the sports world. The Philadelphia Flyers, for example, once had a well-documented ongoing petty relationship between the family of Eric Lindros and general manager Bobby Clarke. The Miami Dolphins more recently had some issues with the wife of Brent Grimes, Miko Grimes.
But the Lakers have helped feed into the Ball hype by drafting Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall to play for them. Lonzo Ball was a perfectly fine pick, even if it meant having to deal with LaVar Ball’s antics and self-promotional efforts.
This is just a guess, but I have a feeling this will not be the last time the Lakers executives feel the need to have a chat with LaVar Ball.