LaVar Ball has taken the sports world by storm over the last few months, ruffling feathers and taking no prisoners. Along the way, he's become a lightning rod of controversy, as well as an inspiration to many who see him in a positive light.
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 him, his ability to create rubbernecks on the information superhighway and sports talk shows has been incomparable. Whether or not you agree with his usurping of the amateur business model with his Big Baller Brand, his son Lonzo's $495 signature shoe or his ability to stir up interest with a P.T. Barnum-like understanding of modern day marketing and promotion, one cannot refute his appeal in this Kardashian age of reality TV.
Regardless of how you feel about him, one thing cannot be denied. He's made himself relevant in more ways than one.
I recently sat down with two of our Shadow League contributors - April Reign and Shireen Ahmed - to discuss the Lavar Ball Effect as Lonzo embarks on his first pro steps with the Lakers in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League.
April practiced law for twenty years before finding her true passion: using her voice to explore issues of race, politics and culture. As the Creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, she challenges the lack of representation of marginalized communities in Hollywood and beyond, and is a sought-after presence who consults on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Shireen is a sports activist, freelance writer and public speaker who focuses on Muslin women and the intersection of racism and misogyny in sports. When she isn't watching soccer, she drinks coffee as a tool of resistance. She is currently working on her first book and lives in Toronto, Canada with her family.
Check out what we had to say.
Round Table On Lavar Ball, Sports And Activism