LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 25: Elijah Stewart #30 of the USC Trojans and Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins wait for a free throw in the first half of the game at Galen Center on January 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Trojans won 84-76. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Ah, the Ball family. Say what you want about them, and I’ve certainly said plenty, but they are absolutely fascinating in their ability to manufacture drama.

Today, we have Lonzo, the actually talented member of the family, being asked during a radio interview to compare himself with fellow top NBA prospect Markelle Fultz.

Here’s how he answered:

“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him,” said Ball, who led the Bruins to a pair of blowout victories over Fultz’s Huskies this season.

“I think I can lead a team better than him,” Ball added. “Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

So, there are a few things here. Firs, it’s important to note that every player probably feels they’re better than just about everyone else, especially when you’re in the same draft class. Ball likely wouldn’t have said he was better than, I don’t know, Steph Curry. (Probably.)

And Lonzo did go a fair bit out of the way to praise Fultz as well, noting his skillset and hedging a bit. It’s predictable that the headlines (including the one at the top of this page) would seize upon the most controversial thing Ball said, and ignore what nuance he did bring to the table.

However! The Ball family brought this upon themselves, and will likely continue to do so, for one reason: they have a complete inability to say the right thing.

I am not a public relations expert. Nor am I an NBA draft prospect, or indeed even an athlete of any kind. But it’s honestly not that hard. Here’s an answer that doesn’t lead to national headlines:

“Well, that’s not my job to decide. I think we’re both really good players, and I’ll let the teams make that decision. All I can do is worry about me and my own game.”

That’s it! That’s all it would have taken! I know the Ball brand (well, not their actual licensed brand, but still) is to say anything at any time, but sometimes, it’s best to avoid the headache.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.