OUR SPORTS WORLD
My wife and I have a son. Like most boys his age, he loves video games. But that might be the only typical thing about him. He loves Food Network, Japanese culture, and classical music. My wife and I like to joke that he's eleven going on 37. But we have and will continue to love and support him. I've always known that it was our job as parents to guide them through life and protect them from harm as best as we can.
And that's why I just don't understand what LaVar Ball is doing to his son.
When I talk about the Lakers, I want to talk about Lonzo Ball. I want to see if he can further develop his many talents and raise his game. I want to know if he'll do what it takes to be great. But it feels like we're never going to see what Lonzo is all about because LaVar is blocking the view.
If the elder Ball wants to build a brand and launch his own shoe company, I say go for it. But I would never pay $495 for a shoe. Hell, I'd have trouble paying $95 for a shoe even if it guaranteed me a better jump shot. If he wants to turn his family into the basketball equivalent of the Kardashians, that's his business. But I won't be watching. If he wants to take his two younger kids out of school and have them play basketball in Lithuania, that's his prerogative. But I wouldn't do that to my son (mainly because the only basketball he plays is on NBA2K18.)
But writing checks that your son has to cash? That's a problem.
All families put some degree of pressure on their children whether it's to get good grades or finish their vegetables, but not everyone does it in front of hordes of reporters and cameras. I wasn't one of the fans that wanted to make Lonzo the face of the Lakers. But that's all the elder Ball has wanted even before the Lakers nabbed the second pick in the NBA draft. What may have started with a brash parent protecting his son from all the slings and arrows is now an insufferable media hound that has painted a target on his son's back. I can see Lonzo's doubt every time he launches a shot. Even when it goes in, there's more relief than anything else. Does the elder Ball even know how much of a disservice he is doing to his son or is he too busy looking for another camera to talk into?
The Lakers have already taken steps to hold the elder Ball at bay with varied results and I commend Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, and Luke Walton for not fully engaging in this nonsense. Eventually, the Lakers will have to question if it's all worth it. If the elder Ball can't help but continue to be a distraction, the Lakers may have to cut bait. It would awful to see the son pay for the father's sins, but in the end, the team must come first.
By all accounts, Lonzo Ball is a good kid. He's quiet, soft-spoken, and a good teammate. Maybe he takes after his mother.