This past trade deadline, many teams were stingy with their draft picks. They were hopeful that they could select a generational player this upcoming June, and many might be hoping to grab UCLA freshman star Lonzo Ball. However, Ball’s father isn’t a fan of that idea, unless it’s one specific team selecting his son.
Ball is versatile enough to play multiple positions, and he’s proven to be an incredible scorer with a lot of talent. He has many front office types salivating and hoping that he will fall right into their lap. While his game is out of this world, though, his father LaVar is proving to be a bit of a headache, and it looks like he isn’t done making ridiculous statements just yet. LaVar appeared on the Kevin and Mike Show on Sports Radio 1290 The Source in Tucson, Arizona ahead of the No.5 Bruins’ game against the No. 4 and hometown Wildcats Saturday, and said Lonzo will only play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lavar Ball: "My son will only play for the Lakers."
— Michael Luke (@ironmikeluke) February 25, 2017
LaVar Ball also had some further fiery comments during that interview, saying UCLA wouldn’t lose to Arizona again (they lost 96-85 to the Wildcats at home on Jan 21):
LaVar Ball, dad of Lonzo, on tonight's game vs Arizona: "My boy don't lose to people two times in a row." @SportsRadio1290
— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) February 25, 2017
In the end, he proved right there, with UCLA winning 77-72 and Ball chipping in 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds. However, coaches and teammates aren’t always thrilled to have athletes’ parents making these kinds of public comments.
This isn’t the first time that LaVar Ball has made headlines. Earlier this month, he spoke to TMZ and stated that he thought that Ball was going to be better than Steph Curry. Shortly after, he doubled down in an interview with ESPN and didn’t mince words.
Let me tell you this right now: I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing right now. He better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on this UCLA team and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.
Well, okay then. High praise and a bit out there. No way he can really believe that, right?
Lonzo has a strong chance at being a difference-maker in the NBA, but the way his father is talking could cause his stock to fall.
Other teams could draft Lonzo high, but if his father’s comments are accurate, that might turn into a headache. The chances of Ball actually sitting out if he’s drafted by a team other than the Lakers seem remote, but they might be enough of a risk to convince teams that would normally take him to pass.
Even the Lakers’ drafting Ball (which could happen; they likely have their own first-rounder this year, but it is top-three-protected, so if they sneak into one of those spots, there’s a chance) might not turn out to be perfect. They might not be thrilled at the idea of having to deal with LaVar. LaVar Ball will continue to be a storyline in the years to come, too, as his son Lamelo is a high school sophomore who’s also committed to play for UCLA.
The headlines are going to end up writing themselves. As long as LaVar continues to talk to the media, these types of stories are going to continue to circulate. And they won’t necessarily end well for his son. LaVar is turning out to be the sports equivalent of a stage mom, which we’ve seen before with the likes of Marv Marinovich and Carl Lindros. Is that really the legacy he wants to leave?