It finally seems that the loudmouth ego of a man has finally shut up. It has been nearly three months since LaVar Ball appeared on television or made an outlandish statement surrounding one of his kids; and maybe, just maybe, we have reached the light at the end of the tunnel. His master plan has turned into an absolute train wreck, and believe it or not, it’s entirely his fault.
LaVar lives for four things: his three kids, Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo, and the Ball family company, the Big Baller Brand (BBB). Sadly for the Chino Hills father of three, only Lonzo has succeeded in advancing to the next level – so what happened?
All seemed to go swimmingly as the eldest brother, Lonzo, was picked second overall in the 2017 NBA draft to the team LaVar prophesied since the beginning of Lonzo’s basketball career: the Los Angeles Lakers. You can’t have a much better start than one-for-one.
But there are two sides to this coin. Yes, Lonzo is a Laker; however, Lonzo is not better than Stephen Curry (something LaVar promised), nor is he on track to be the best Laker point guard of all time (something LaVar promised). But give credit where credit is due, Lonzo is in the NBA.
After this point, the Big Baller plan goes awol. After a scandal involving shoplifting while the UCLA basketball team was playing an exhibition game in China, middle brother LiAngelo found himself pulled from the university.
Weeks later, LaVar, being the publicity junkie he is, pulled his youngest son, LaMelo, out of Chino Hills High School because of “coaching disagreements.”
Both Chino Hills and UCLA are excellent basketball programs that can potentially pave the way to an eventual roster spot in the NBA; Lonzo exemplifies this journey and is a product of both institutions. Both Chino Hills and UCLA were avenues the younger brothers needed to utilize if they want to find themselves suiting up in an NBA uniform.
But LaVar, obsessed with Big Baller Brand profits, stirred the pot for exposure. If the ultimate goal was to get a kid into the NBA, nobody in their right mind would pull their son from a program like UCLA or Chino Hills. Sure, LiAngelo had a suspension, but at least he would workout and train with professionals with a proven track record.
It seems that LaVar’s obsession with profits distracted him from the original Ball family goal.
Then, LaVar’s plan takes a sudden turn: LiAngelo and Lamelo sign with Lithuanian basketball team Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas. How LaVar sees this as a positive step, nobody knows – maybe BBB sales were low overseas.
Fast forward through the 8th grade Lithuanian rec league and the NBA draft comes up. LaVar’s plan to get LiAngelo drafted fails since he only played in Lithuania and high school – he didn’t even get a summer league invite.
So what does LaVar do? He makes his own league. The Junior Basketball Association (JBA) is a rival to the NCAA, according to LaVar, although to any sane human, it is nothing but a semi-competitive church league made to get his kids unlimited touches and shots.
This is now where the younger Ball boys play. LaVar is desperate for his sons to get drafted and has fixed the league to improve their reputation. On the surface, LiAngelo is averaging insane numbers. In his last game he played 48 minutes and scored 48 points. A point per minute is incredible efficiency, no?
LiAngelo went 19 of 54 from the field, and 5 of 24 from three. LaVar thinks scouts are stupid, they won’t look past box score numbers, and he couldn’t be more incorrect.
This brings us to LaMelo. His last JBA game is eerily similar to LiAngelo’s: 48 points on 35 shots, and 7 of 18 from deep. All of his games are like this; high point totals on high shot attempts. If you just watch a JBA game, anyone can tell that it is not true basketball being played – it is LaVar’s sick twist on it. Possessions in the JBA are mostly full court heaves to a cherry-picking player, and when that is covered, a contested three or circus layup by one of the Ball boys.
Contrary to popular belief though, there is hope for LaMelo. Recent videos have surfaced of him putting on muscle and throwing down windmill self alley-oops with ease at only 16. The question of why someone would take a JBA product over a collegiate program product still stands. LaMelo is athletic, but he’s playing literal bums in this league, and that only means that if he makes the league, he’s in for an extremely rude awakening.
It’s hard to not feel bad for the kids. They’ve been nothing more than the victims of LaVar’s obsession with publicity stunts. If LaVar has done all of these outrageous things to his kids at the expense of their future, what, if any, is the payoff for the family brand?
Sadly, little to nothing. LaVar, according to Forbes.com, has a net worth of just four million, and the “Ball Estate” was actually purchased by Lonzo thanks to his rookie contract.
Let’s recap. Lonzo is doing decently in the NBA, but he’s in the NBA nonetheless. LiAngelo, who could’ve gone to UCLA, is underway in another season on the Los Angeles Ballers after a stint in the Lithuanian Basketball League, and he’s tearing it up! LaMelo, once UCLA bound, played in Lithuania too and is now playing alongside LiAngelo on the Ballers; however, there is some hope for him as he is young and has shown signs of growth. As for the family brand, it is neither big, nor baller, and barely a brand.
Hey LaVar, here’s what you should’ve done: kept your mouth shut and let your kids develop at UCLA.
LaVar was too obsessed with the fame and attention his antics drove, and it distracted him from his original goal. Now, he’s paying the price and so are his kids.
On second thought, maybe that’s why he’s gone quiet.