There’s no need to put LaVar Ball under the microscope any further. The public perception of him runs the gamut, from loud-mouthed helicopter dad living through his children’s athletic talents to dedicated father who has guided and molded his boys with a Richard Williams-esque determination and focus.
Whatever you want to say about LaVar, his ability to create rubbernecks on the information superhighway and sports talk shows has been incomparable. The man understands marketing, and whether or not you agree with his usurping of the amateur business model with his Big Baller Brand, Lonzo’s $495 signature shoe or his ability to create headlines with the boastful bragging of being able to destroy Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one, or miraculously out-screaming Stephen A. Smith, one cannot refute his appeal in this Kardashian age of reality TV.
I applaud him for how he’s hoodwinked many into believing that he’s some sinister villain. Please see Floyd Mayweather to see how that caricature and public perception translates at the box office. But many fail to see the sly smile that creases LaVar’s face when he gets all bombastic.
He’s the ultimate WWE hype man, and he’s done his job to perfection.
But now, as far as Lonzo, who will be among the top picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft, the job is complete. No one walks into this year’s draft with a higher public profile. You can say what you want about the methods that LaVar employed to obtain tens of millions of dollars worth of free advertising, but the fact is, like Nas is fond of saying, he made you look.
Music video by Nas performing Made You Look. (C) 2003 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Personally, I like the guy. I see the end-game. And I can’t be mad at a cat out here hustlin’ to get a piece of the financial pie that the college programs, NCAA, sneaker companies and apparel brands have had a monopoly on in the teenage-hoops-phenoms market since day one.
He really has brought about the dawn of a new day when you strip down his Ralph Kramden-Blabbermouth affliction. He’s boldly gone where no one has previously dared in terms of challenging the amateur basketball business model, but that’s gotten lost in his portrayal as the ultimate New Jack carnival barker.
LaVar Ball joins First Take and goes back and forth with Stephen A. Smith in a heated debate regarding his views on beating Michael Jordan in a game of 1-on-1, comparing Lonzo Ball to Steph Curry, and saying Lonzo would have a bigger impact on the Lakers than Magic Johnson.
LaVar has put Lonzo in position to come out of the gate with the highest public profile of all of the top draft prospects, including the consensus #1 pick Markelle Fultz.
And now, LaVar needs to shift his gears and work his marketing magic on younger sons LiAngelo, who will be a freshman at UCLA this fall and LaMelo, who just completed his sophomore year at Chino Hills High School.
The crazy thing about the Ball dynamic over the past few months, and even heading into the draft, is that LaVar’s methods have overshadowed the real reason why we care in the first place. If Lonzo was just a decent college player with a mere shot at making an NBA roster, we would have dismissed the sideshow long ago.
But Lonzo is no mere prospect. The young man is one of the most exceptional point guards to come out of the college game in quite some time.
He revolutionized the UCLA program during his lone season as the Bruins floor general. You can talk all you want about the funky form on his jumper or his stats, but the only measure that counts is his ability to elevate others with his remarkable vision, passing and all-around skill set. There have been many exceptional college point guards, but this dude, at least at the NCAA level, has been Magic, Jason Kidd, Derrick Rose, Kenny Anderson, Gary Payton, Pearl Washington, Sherman Douglas, Chris Paul, T.J. Ford-type good.
His passing, both in transition and within the confines of a structured half-court set are beyond breathtaking. He sees things within the flow of the game that 98% of players never will. And he singlehandedly turned UCLA into a Final Four contender this past season with his unique brand of West Coast G-Funk.
For all of the doubters who question the quirks in his shooting motion, Lonzo connected on 41.2% of his college three’s, many of which were attempted from beyond the actual NBA distance. He can bomb away effectively in the the half-court off of pull-ups and coming off screens. He has every pass imaginable in his arsenal, but you gotta peep the genius of how he freaks the outlet pass, whether freaking it as the initiator, or how he receives it in motion and pumps the gas to create some fast-paced improvisational magic.
Follow JBP on IG: https://www.instagram.com/justbombsproductions/ ( click show more ) Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScottTakade Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scotttakade/ Follow JBP on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JBP_Official UCLA PG Lonzo Ball Freshman 6’6 190 lbs Check out my backup channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT48sLMEjRc40Ts-cm70E3w Intro song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k1FRzJn5VI (All rights go to University of California Los Angeles, ESPN, xosdigitalsports, UCLA Athletics, PAC-12 Network, CBS, CBS Sports, Universal Music Group, the NCAA & it’s broadcasters.
He’s also an excellent defender with length who ain’t afraid to bang with the big boys on the glass. His instinctual game shows up on the defensive end just as beautifully as they do when he’s orchestrating the offense.
He is the type of rare talent that will literally change the way the Lakers, who seem all but assured of taking him with the #2 pick after Philly takes Fultz off the board, play ball from day one. That’s some serious magnitude, and something that very few players coming straight out of college can do.
To make a long story short, the incandescence of his talent is extremely rare. And unfortunately, the spotlight on LaVar has somehow taken away from that.
In this age of the Kardashians, some people are famous for simply being famous, with no discernible skills to back that up other than cosmetic fluff.
But Lonzo ain’t no Kardashian. That young brother is the real deal. And most of ya’ll who were too busy rubbernecking on LaVar don’t yet realize it. But you soon will.
No player makes it to Draft night on his own. For Father’s Day, we asked a few of this year’s top prospects to reflect on everything their Dads have done to support them on their journey. #Approved
LaVar, you did a great job getting your son right here, making his dream become a reality. And now it’s time for him to really ball and bring the prophecy to light. Job well done, pops. Now fall back and work your magic on the next two Big Ballers in the pipeline.
Because right now, the stage belongs to Lonzo. And him, and him alone, need to be the star of his own show moving forward.