The first dent in the Big Baller Brands armor has surfaced. It has nothing to do with Lonzo Ball’s mediocre play so far this season as a Lakers rookie or his Dads desperate plea for more playing time in the fourth quarter for his son.
The least publicized ball brother, LiAngelo, a UCLA incoming freshman, has tainted the familys perfect image with an arrest in China for shoplifting on Tuesday. Ball, the second oldest of the three Ball Boys, and UCLA teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, got bagged for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near their hotel on a team trip to China. Now, they face a legal battle that could take days, weeks or months, according to ESPNs Arash Markazi.
LiAngelo Ball, 2 other UCLA basketball players arrested in China https://t.co/Gf0ogrBEj8
UCLA is supposed to face Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Friday, but Ball, Riley and Hill wont be joining the team in the immediate future.
I can see LaVar’s face right now. Hes turning red and thinking about how much money LiAngelo’s absurd behavior is going to cost him. These aren’t the types of questions he wants to be answering. Naturally, the man who can’t stop talking, has gone speechless concerning this situation.
LaVar Ball is asked about his son LiAngelo Ball’s shoplifting arrest in China and says, “I’m going to wait until I get more intel” before providing an update.
LaVar has very strategically tried to put his sons in a position to succeed. He has made sure that all of the attention and criticism would be directed at him first, but knowing that his family is perceived as a clean-as-a-whistle, wholesome American success story, folks really dont have a leg to stand on when criticizing him. He’s just a very concerned and vocal dad who has kept his boys out of trouble and on a path to greatness.
That perception takes a hit with LiAngelo’s arrest. It makes you wonder if LiAngelo can function without his Dad laying everything out for him, advising him on his every move.
Theres one in every family and we seem to have found the weak link in the Big Baller Brands mighty family tree. LiAngelos actions seem to represent that of an entitled brat. We were all 18 once, and Lord knows we didnt make the best decisions. But to risk suspension or even expulsion from your college team right before you begin your freshman season and to embarrass the university, your family and the Big Baller Brand by trying to swipe some shades in China is just hard to comprehend.
Why would LiAngelo risk so much like he’s a kid who has so little?
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I mean, with all of the paper LaVar claims they are making, how come LiAngelo couldnt just swipe the credit card and step with the specs?
Lonzo is in the NBA blazing a trail. Dad is on his PR real heavy and Lil Melo is racking up triple-digit scoring games and immersing himself in his premature fame without breaking the law. No matter how you slice it, this is a huge hit for not only LiAngelo but the brand that LaVar Ball is trying to create.
We wish LiAngelo the best and his teammates in fighting this international case, which can be complicated and also used as a political tool considering the fame the Ball Family has acquired over the past two seasons.
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The is the first crisis for a machine that has been smooth sailing for some time now. The questions about whether LaVar is enabling his sons and creating self-centered, entitled monsters will surface again. His boisterous personality, loud voice and outlandish claims can’t speak away this incident.
Its a reflection on the family that comes at the worst time. It will only make them bigger targets as the medias love-hate affair with LaVar continues to create a negative obsession with his sons who have to understand that the game has already started. Theres no turning back to being an unknown basketball player from Chino Hills, California.
Then again, the Ball Family has been a bit too clean and an arrest never hurt the street credibility or popularity of celebrities. LaVar can probably even flip this situation into some cheddar by covering it for his reality show.
However it plays out, the idea that LaVar Ball has all of his sons under control and they are one immaculately functioning machine is in question. Because when the season drops and LiAngelo isnt on the court, we will see how LaVar handles the first real crisis they have encountered as they attempt to build The Big Baller empire.