LaVar Ball…where shall we begin? If this is your first introduction to the magic that is LaVar Ball then be prepared for a ride. Many have likened him to the Donald Trump of the NBA and his family draws comparisons to the Kardashians. With a persona like that, it didn’t take long for the Big Baller Brand father to start making waves in the media. Whether he’s making headlines for his insane comments or one of his three sons signed another basketball contract, LaVar Ball and company are slowly becoming a media juggernaut. Here are some of the craziest moments from the Ball circus act that are sure to help you understand the hype around him and his family.
Better Than Curry?
LaVar Ball didn’t just wake up one day and begin blurting outrages remarks to media outlets — he’s been doing it well before his eldest son, Lonzo Ball made it to the NBA. But there was one statement that really got him on the mind of the masses.
“I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing,” he told a reporter. “He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.” Considering Curry is a two-time NBA MVP, those are some bold words, but he stands by them to this day.
LaVar’s Youngest Son Breaks Record But Causes Backlash
LaVar Ball’s youngest son LaMelo attended Chino Hills High School in southern California. In fact, all three of his sons attended the school and ended the year with an undefeated record in 2015 and 2016. Once Lonzo went to college it was LaMelo’s time to shine and he did just that when he scored 92 points as a sophomore on February 7, 2017.
LaVar would tell ESPN after the game, “He loves to score. That’s the type of things he’s going to do next year on a daily basis. It’s easy for him.” But media personality and former NBA star Charles Barkley wasn’t too impressed. “You know, the kid was waiting at half court most of the game,” Barkley said. “Never went back on defense. So I had a problem with it.” Oops.
Barkley wouldn’t be the first to have a problem with LaVar or any of his family.
In His Heyday, Jordan Wouldn’t Stand A Chance…
A little over a month later, LaVar made another appearance in the media, but this time it wasn’t about any of his sons. LaVar sat down and told USA Today that he was able to beat Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one. Unsurprisingly, no one could believe the quote.
“Back in my heydey, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,” LaVar said. “He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough.” This wild declaration led to some people doing some research of their own.
Do you agree with the Big Baller?
You Have To Walk It Like You Talk It
These days, there is nothing the internet can’t find out about you. From resurfacing old tweets to finding incriminating videos, you are bound to be exposed if you lie —especially if you lie about yourself! In this case, the internet was able to pull up LaVar’s old college stats from when he played at Washington State.
NFL superstar Le’Veon Bell called him out tweeting, “you averaged a whole 2 points a game at Washington St, you know Jordan would torch you!” Charles Barkley got back into the mix saying, “I’m too old and fat to play basketball but I’ll challenge Mr. Ball. No guy who averaged that is going to beat me.”
LeBron Takes It Personal
In between all of this mayhem, LaVar had some words for LeBron James and his kids. “You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because [fans] are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad.'” LaVar made this comment during a conversation involving stars and how it can be hard for their children to shine in their shadow. Well, LeBron didn’t want his advice and made it clear.
“Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth,” LeBron said with venom. “Keep my family out of your mouth. This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.”
Keep reading, the drama is just getting started.
Big Baller BrandCHINO, CA – SEPTEMBER 02: (L-R) Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, LiAngelo Ball and LaVar Ball attend Melo Ball’s 16th Birthday on September 2, 2017 in Chino, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Crosswalk Productions )
Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Crosswalk Productions
Big Baller Brand was launched by LaVar Ball in May of 2016 as a lifestyle and apparel company. After failed attempts at getting Nike, Adidas and Under Armour to sign his sons for the steep one billion dollar contract he requested, LaVar decided to make his own shoes for his sons.
“Lonzo is going to be the first one drafted with his own brand,” said LaVar. Just when you think the crazy things that come out of his mouth can’t get any crazier, they do. Lonzo’s first sneaker, the ZO2’s released at a retail price of $495. LaVar went on to tell a reporter that you’re “not a big baller if you can’t afford the shoes.” Okay, LaVar.
Ice Cube Gets In On The Fun
By this point, the whole world was taking notice of LaVar Ball. The hype went beyond those in sports media to athletes and eventually celebrities. Rapper, actor and businessman Ice Cube was another celebrity who couldn’t keep his mouth shut concerning LaVar. But instead of just tweeting about it, he actually challenged LaVar to a long distance shootout. In a video he posted on his Twitter of himself making the long-range shot, the caption read, “Callin out LaVar for the #4pointchallenge! Make the 30ft shot and I’ll cop 10 pairs of #bigballerbrand.” LaVar responded and said he wasn’t scared of him, “I hit them shots with my eyes closed.” But in the end, it was Ice Cube who came out on top.
LaVar Sees Purple And Gold
Before the NBA draft goes down there is a ping-pong-style random selection of what the draft order should be. The Lakers had a 15.7 percent chance of getting the first through the third pick. Lonzo Ball was a projected top-two pick. After the Lakers got the second pick LaVar was positive his son was going to the Lakers. “I told him he was gonna go to the Lakers,” he exclaimed the night of the lottery.
Then came the night of the draft. In almost every interview prior to the draft, LaVar would say, “I’m going to speak it into existence,” that his son would go to the Lakers with the number two pick. When draft night came, the Lakers got their man in Lonzo and LaVar’s prediction came true.
Ball In The Family
On August 29, 2017, LaVar and his family had their own reality web television series premiere. Ball in the Family is a Facebook Watch show that airs every Sunday. The show documents the professional and personal lives of the Ball family. On the series debut, Lonzo Ball had some insightful words for everybody that disagrees with his dad.
“Everything my dad does is definitely planned, so even if people think he’s crazy, he knows what he’s doing,” said Lonzo. The first episode had over 17 million views at the time of publication.
No More Education For You
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
By now, you have probably pieced together that LaVar Ball wants things done his way. Whether he has to predict and “put it in the universe” it or put it into action himself, you can bet that LaVar is going have the last laugh — literally and figuratively. But still, it came as a shock when LaVar announced that he would be taking his son LaMelo out of Chino Hills High in October 2017.
“I’m not dealing with the coach over there, ” LaVar said. “I’m not dealing with the administration over there. I don’t want no distractions on Melo. So therefore I’m going to home-school him and make him the best basketball player ever.”
Many were confused by this decision but did it turn out to be the right move?
LaVar Makes Noise On WWE
“Big Baller Brand in the House,” LaVar screamed as he took the WWE ring. “This what we do.” LaVar took his sons LaMelo and Lonzo Ball with him for his first appearance on WWE Raw. It was random and it was all over the place. The main purpose of it was to promote his Big Baller Brand. Apparently, none of his antics were planned.
“It was not planned at all,” wrestler The Miz said of Ball taking off his shirt. “I was like, ‘I’m just gonna let him do his thing because guess what? People are going to be talking about it for months on end.'” And he was correct.
But where has the middle son LiAngelo Ball been during all of this?
One Son Won’t Make It
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Of LaVar’s three sons, the middle child Ball LiAngelo might have caused the most noise to be made. Only one year after the eldest Ball left UCLA, another one stepped right in. Their talent levels are different but it is believed that LiAngelo is the weakest link. LaVar publicly acknowledged this.
“I told my boys that one of them wasn’t going to make it. Because if you’ve got three, only one, maybe two make it to the NBA,” Ball said, adding that LiAngelo is “going to be taken care of either way.” At least he’s honest with his sons too!
Getting Caught Up In China
In November of 2017, LiAngelo and the UCLA Bruins took a trip to China. They went overseas to play in an exhibition game against Georgia Tech. It was LiAngelo’s first time in that element so with newness comes… new behavior? He and three other teammates were caught doing something that wasn’t scoring baskets.
He and his teammates were caught shoplifting from a luxurious retail store. You have to wonder why LiAngelo would resort to doing such a thing when his family is rich. They would end up being suspended indefinitely. “I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the stores in China,” LiAngelo said, but the apology wasn’t enough. The three ended up being detained in China while the rest of the team came back to the States.
To help with the situation, President Trump intervened.
Trump Steps In
While LiAngelo and his three other teammates were stowed away in China, President Trump stepped in. While it’s still uncertain if any of the Ball family asked for assistance, it seems like Trump took things into his own hands. He was already on a trip to Asia so he spoke with Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart.
“Hopefully everything is going to work out,” Trump said. He also noted that Xi was very helpful through the process and that a resolution was found thanks to his efforts.
LaVar, on the other hand, was not so grateful for the President’s help.
Trump Vs. LaVar
You know LaVar wasn’t going to be quiet after Trump sent numerous tweets his way. LaVar made an appearance on CNN where he battled questions concerning the matter in true Ball fashion. LaVar kept repeating that he didn’t know if Trump actually helped or if he just tweeted about it. This is why he kept his thank you’s to himself for the most part.
“Do I think the president helped? I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know. You can say what you want. I didn’t see him talk. If you help, you shouldn’t have to say anything. There’s a lot of other things that’s going on. Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son and let’s just stay in our lane.” Did Ball make a point there?
Say Bye To UCLA
Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images
“We are exploring other options with Gelo (LiAngelo),” LaVar told ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman in a December 2017 interview. “He’s out of there.” This news came right after LiAngelo had arrived back from his eventful trip to China. Many were wondering what UCLA was going to do with their player but LaVar didn’t waste a moment to make a move.
“I’m not sitting back and waiting,” LaVar went on to say. “He wasn’t punished this bad in China. He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft.”
What came next threw everyone off guard.
The Brothers Take Their Talents Overseas
That escalated rather quick. Not even months after both LiAngelo and LaMelo left their respective schools, the two brothers turned pro by signing one-year deals to play in Lithuania. Once again, many questioned this big move but like Lonzo said, his dad always has a plan.
“What went into the decision? We’re trying to get to the Lakers as quick as possible, and we can’t be sitting around doing nothing,” LaVar said in a December 2017 interview with ESPN. “I only think of what’s best for my boys, and they understand I never steer them wrong, and I don’t think I’m going to start steering them wrong now.”
The LaVar Ball Rule
Soon enough, Lonzo came into the NBA with a target on his back thanks to all the talking LaVar does. Luckily, Lonzo doesn’t mind all the noise. The Lakers organization seems to have a problem with it. This is why they implemented the “LaVar Ball Rule” in late 2017. The rule no longer allows members of the media to gather around the family section of the players after games.
“I’m not worried about the LaVar Ball rule,” LaVar told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman when asked about the Lakers’ policy — which came into place right after LaVar criticized Lakers head coach Luke Walton. “They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son.” We have to point out that the Lakers were in the midst of a terrible losing streak.
The Debut Overseas
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There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of the Ball brothers. Many were waiting to see if they would actually perform well while others thought they would be just fine. It all led back to LaVar. If the boys weren’t that good then everyone would immediately point a finger at the patriarch.
The good news was that the two didn’t do so bad and combined for 29 points and got the victory. “I did all right,” LiAngelo said. “I’m glad we won, but I could do better.” The sons are little more modest compared to their father, of course. “As long as we [are] winning and playing like this, this is gonna be fun,” LaVar said. We will have to wait and see if this was the best move for the brothers.
LaVar Has Always Had A PlanLonzo Ball 1.JPG
As we went over earlier, LaVar wasn’t the best collegiate athlete. He may be good at coaching his sons in the sport of basketball but his personal skills didn’t amount to much. But, of course, that didn’t stop LaVar. His mind was in motion well before Lonzo was born.
He attended Cal State Los Angeles and that is where he met his eventual wife, Tina. He was instantly attracted to her height. He chose her with the intent of bringing up basketball players. Tina says, “He always had a master plan.” Whether we agree with his methods or not, LaVar seems to be getting the results he wants.