liangelo ball-lavar ball-ucla Nov 15, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard LiAngelo Ball speaks at a press conference regarding the arrest of Ball and freshman teammates Jalen Hill and Cody Riley (both not pictured) in China for shoplifting. Ball is the son of LaVar Ball and Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (both not pictured). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LaVar and Tina Ball’s oldest son, Lonzo, was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Their youngest son, LaMelo, is the No. 7 player in the 2019 recruiting class (per ESPN). And in the middle sits LiAngelo, who… well… let’s just say there’s a reason he’s known more for shoplifting than for hooping.

On Monday, LaVar announced he was pulling LiAngelo from UCLA, where the guard had been suspended indefinitely following his arrest for shoplifting in China, because, as the elder Ball told ESPN, “We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China.”

Per ESPN, LaVar plans to prepare LiAngelo for the spring’s NBA Draft, a plan that comes with one serious flaw: No NBA team has expressed any desire in employing the 6-foot-5-inch guard. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ball has “no chance” to be drafted and will have a tough time finding a gig even in the G-League. One NBA GM told Woj his team doesn’t have LiAngelo on even extended scouting lists.

So on one hand, things always seem to go according to plan for the Balls. All three kids got scholarships to UCLA, Lonzo landed with the Lakers, exactly where he wanted to be, and LaMelo looks like a potential star. Maybe everything will just work out. On the other hand, if LaVar pushes LiAngelo toward the NBA but no team has any interest, there’s not really a happy ending to be had. The most likely scenario seems to be that LiAngelo goes undrafted, tries for a Summer League invite (maybe with Lonzo’s Lakers?) and then winds up playing overseas for whoever will have him. He might be leaving L.A. to play in Budapest or Warsaw.

Though it’s tempting, as always, to criticize LaVar’s parenting here, you can’t knock the guy too much given how far his kids have already gotten while following his lead. And there’s certainly an argument to be made that LiAngelo is better off cashing in than playing for free at UCLA (though there’s also an argument that his long-term career is as an accountant or something and that a college degree couldn’t hurt). It’s quite possible LaVar knows what he’s doing, as he has for much of the past year.

Anyway, hours after TMZ and ESPN first reported LiAngelo’s departure from UCLA, ESPN revealed that the 19-year-old will soon have a signature shoe from Big Baller Brand, the Gelo 3. So regardless of what happen to him next, at least he’ll always have his own sneaker.

UPDATE: Yahoo’s Shams Charania reports that both LiAngelo and LaMelo are “exploring options” to play overseas. That means LiAngelo leave college behind, while LaMelo will never matriculate at UCLA as previously planned. Given their sneaker deals and all, this is not exactly a huge shock.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.