Melo Ball Joins NBL, Wants To Be No. 1 Overall Pick In 2020 NBA Draft

Big Baller brand might have fallen off, but The Ball Family is still in the news.

LaVar surfaced earlier this week to respond to his son Lonzo Ball being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the blockbuster Anthony Davis package.

It’s been a minute since the media had a LaVar Ball take. It was one of his worsts takes ever, but it thrust him back into the spotlight for a second.

With all of the drama concerning the Lakers and AD and Lonzo’s new home in New Orleans, overlooked is the fact that LaVar’s youngest son, LaMelo Ball is positioning himself to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The 17-year-old baller has some work to do as he is ranked 21st in ESPN’s Top 100. He is also currently getting busy in the Drew League this summer and has announced that he will first head back overseas and continue honing his game against grown men.  

https://youtu.be/nH5hzWyaKkk

The first high school baller in history with a signature shoe announced that has signed with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian NBL on Monday, a move that ends all thought of him playing college basketball.  The NCAA didn’t want to let him rock anyway.

LaVar is considered an enemy as he has constantly criticized the exploitative and financially-crippling sports governing body and encouraged players to forego the NCAA by creating the JBL, a pro league that would pay players with NBA potential who didn’t want to deal with the NCAA’s rules. 

Ball made the comments on ESPN’s The Jump.  

Melo’s basketball journey has been quite eventful for a kid his age. Originally a UCLA commit, he withdrew from Chino Hills High School before his junior season after LaVar, had a falling out with the team’s head coach, Steve Baik. He went to play overseas in Lithuania with Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas and then the Los Angeles Ballers as part of the Junior Basketball Association before coming to Spire Institute for his senior season.

LaVar took the extraordinary measure of removing his progeny from a traditional path to professional basketball glory. It was a path that most mainstream basketball minds vehemently opposed and therefore, had a lot of people looking at their every hiccup as validation for prior doubt.

Critics clowned LaVar and said Melo was too young and not good enough or tough enough to ball in Lithuania. They said he was ignoring the value of an education and accused his Dad of being nothing more than a money-hungry, self-indulgent opportunist.

None of that matters at this point. They were wrong. Melo did survive Lithuania and he matured and faced all of the smoke that came his way.  Now he’s positioning himself to be a Top 3 pick in next year’s NBA Draft, which would mean that two Ball Brothers became Top 3 overall Draft picks.

Do you know what that spells? Success.

 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.