As much as we praise LaVar Ball for his marketing genius and progressive, aggressive pursuit of the perfect basketball world for his sons, he doesnt cease to piss people off with his disregard for boundaries and etiquette when it comes to being an NBA dad.
While everyone respects LaVars ability to position his sons for some high-powered celebrity appeal at a very young age, most folks would agree that they are tired of hearing from him when it comes to the operations of Lakers basketball.
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When LaVar whines about Lonzos playing time or disrespects coaches and executives in the Lakers organization, he is overstepping his authority and representing himself poorly, while making life harder for Lonzo, who is trying to adapt to the NBA game and produce consistent performances night in and night out while battling a bum shoulder.
There has to be a balance between LaVar’s desires and the way things are done on the pro level. He just doesn’t have an off switch and it’s wearing thin on some folks.
The Lakers’ first victory since Dec. 20 should have been a much-needed break from the media storm that has engulfed Staples Center, but Sunday’s 132-113 win over the Hawks only magnified just how much LaVar Ball’s inflammatory statements are a distraction for the 12-27 team.
The Lakers fielded more questions about LaVar, who went in on coach Luke Walton for the second time this season and criticized how Lonzo was being used. Its like a scene from a high school team when LaVar does these things, but whatever he says is reported as if it is law and people respond to it as if he is an authority on how to build an NBA franchise.
LaVar opened up another can of whoop ass on Walton to the media while out in Lithuania with his sons LiAngelo and LaMelo. Ball believes the Lakers head coach has lost the team, saying the his inexperience shows in his inability to relate to players.
“You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more,” LaVar said, via ESPN. “Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him.
“That’s a good team. Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high five’s when they come out of the game. People don’t know why they’re in the game. He’s too young. He’s too young. … He ain’t connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he’s not connecting with not one player.”
LaVar, who remains in Lithuania with his two youngest boys, LaMelo and LiAngelo, as they prepare to make their professional debuts, has a history of being critical of his sons’ coaches. This time, he believes Walton isn’t the right man to lead the Lakers no matter how many stars are on the squad.
“LeBron’s coming to LA. I know he’s coming to LA,” LaVar said. “LeBron is not a fool. What’s the only way he can beat Jordan? You can’t get more championships. Only one way, to say every team I’ve gone to I’ve won a championship. Go to Lakers and win a championship, then you’re better than Jordan. You can’t give my son the best player in the league, and don’t expect them not to win.
“Even if you bring in a LeBron or a (Paul) George, he can’t coach them guys. What is he gonna tell them? He’s too young. He has no control.”
LaVars comments really got to National Basketball Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle who was livid with ESPN for even running the story in which LaVar Ball ripped Walton:
Rick Carlisle’s comments where he rips ESPN for publishing article on LaVar Ball calling out Luke Walton:
Waltons comments also received some backlash from some of ESPNs credible voices, who have defended their coverage of LaVar Ball.
With all due respect to Rick Carlisle, this isn’t how it works. You can certainly argue about the attention paid to Lavar Ball, which is fair. But saying ESPN should side w/ coaches because we’re a NBA partner is all kinds of dangerous. https://t.co/jccn5xgyog
After the win, Walton took his turn, cracking a joke with reporters (via ESPN.com) when asked about taking Lonzo out midway through the first and second quarters and using him to start the third quarter with the second team: “Um, yeah, his dad was talking s so I took him out early (long pause) just kidding.”
But Walton got more serious when addressing the current drama surrounding LaVar:
“We need to focus our energy and minds on what we are doing and that is the message we send every day. Don’t worry about what people on Twitter are saying, don’t worry about what this media outlet is saying or that one or your agent [is saying],” Walton insisted. “The people that matter to what we are trying to do is all in our room. So we have to be able to trust each other and have each other’s backs. That obviously is not always going to be 100 percent true but that is the messaging all year long.”
Hill also pointed out that the fans don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and therefore can’t discount what LaVar’s saying as a senseless rant.
Reporters report about team fractures all the time. How does Carlisle know that what he says isn’t true? I don’t know that it is, but i don’t know that it isn’t. https://t.co/Oce43Vwubm
Lakers forward Brandon Ingram didn’t agree that Walton is losing the team. More importantly, he just wants all of the extra noise to cease so the young brothers can ball with no distractions. Its our job to come in here and listen to our head coach every single day, listen to the assistants. We just try to stay within this team and see how we can make each other better. Its important for us to let that [other stuff] stay out of the locker room,” Ingram told ESPN.
Luke Walton is asked why Lonzo Ball came out midway through the first and third quarters. Walton cracked, “Um yeah, his dad was talking s- so I took him out early.” https://t.co/kaqRRJSZLn
Even if the team is going through turmoil – as losing and rebuilding teams tend to do – the players and management surely don’t want their business spilled into the streets by a disgruntled parent. It just doesn’t help anything.