A lot of people have issues with Lavar Ball, the loudmouth helicopter father of soon-to-be NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball, a point guard out of UCLA. People think he's a publicity hound (he is), that he's a bad father (depends on your definition) and that the shoes he is trying to sell through his Big Baller Brand are absurdly overpriced ($495 per pair...they ARE overpriced).
You can debate these aspects of Lavar Ball all day long, although that sounds like a horrible way to spend a day. What is undeniable is the following:
1. Lonzo Ball will be, at worst, a top five pick in June's NBA Draft, and more likely will be a top three pick, with most people forecasting him going to the Lakers, who own the second pick.
2. Lavar Ball ain't going away. Not much more needs to be said on that topic; the dude is addicted to attention.
3. Lavar Ball is, without question, making his son's transition to the NBA more complicated and challenging, creating a trail of enemies who are lining up to kick Lonzo in the teeth in the name of his blowhard of an old man.
Let's tally up how long the line is right now...
Lavar Ball really entered the public consciousness back during the college basketball season with his outlandish claim that Lonzo is better than Steph Curry. Not WILL BE BETTER...IS BETTER. Like RIGHT NOW. Check out these comments, in which Lavar doubles down on this claim...
As a bonus, he promised that all three of his sons — Lavar has two more sons in high school who will attend UCLA — will be NBA All-Stars some day. Reportedly, the other two sons aren't anything close to Lonzo as players.
They say, "If you come at the king, you best not miss." Well, Lavar didn't really come directly at LeBron the same way he did Curry. However, in espousing a theory on the progeny of All-Star players becoming All-Stars themselves, Lavar pulled LeBron James into the crosshairs:
"You got LeBron — it's going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, 'You got to be just like your dad,'" Ball said. "And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, 'Why do I got to be just like him? What can't I just be me?' And then they are going to be like, 'Aw, you're soft. You're not that good.' Because the expectation is very, very high."
LeBron did not take too kindly to his son's name emanating from Lavar's mouth, putting it out there that Lavar best cease and desist. Predictably, Lavar was unapologetic:
If you don't think LeBron is waiting to send Lonzo into the second row next season, just know that he was clowning Lonzo's unorthodox shooting motion just days after Lavar's comments about LeBron Jr.
Lavar basically may have shoved his kid into the mouth of a hungry lion.
Lavar would continue making outlandish claims, but this time it was about his own prowess as a basketball player, claiming that he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one back in the day. Well, of course, I mean, that scoring average you had of nearly two points per game at Washington State that one season is quite deceptive, Lavar!
This claim gave birth to one of the most mind-numbingly horrible segments of television in the history of media:
If they're looking to interrogate terrorists, may I make a suggestion to our government — just play that video on a loop until the bad guys crack. They'll be ratting out everyone by the third rerun.
Lavar has made no secret that he wants his son to be drafted by the Lakers, which makes it confusing as to why he would choose to alienate one of the three biggest stars in Lakers history when he said the following about Lonzo getting any future advice from former Lakers great Kobe Bryant:
"I don't need no advice from Kobe Bryant," LaVar Ball said Thursday on the Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ Show on ESPN Radio 710 LA. "I don't need advice from Kobe Bryant. Zo's got to play his game."
"If they're at practice and he sees something and Lonzo listens to him or whatever, he's good. ... But it's just not, 'OK, I'm talking to Kobe, so now I'm going to be good.' If Kobe sees something that Zo is doing, then go from there. But I'm not trying to pattern after nobody."
At least Kobe is very lighthearted and not at all vindictive. I'm sure this will all turn out just fine.
If there is one thing we can say about Lavar Ball of late, it looks as if he's beginning to show signs of being awfully thin-skinned. This was evident on a recent appearance on Colin Cowherd's TV show on FS1 when Lavar got into it with Cowherd's co-host, Kristine Leahy, in an overtly sexist and dismissive fashion.
Prior to that, Ball made comments about Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, who has been critical of Ball's parenting methods. First, Lavar Ball said Irving can't have an opinion on parenting because he isn't a parent:
"Kyrie, definitely," Ball said. "How you gonna tell me how my son should be when you don't have a kid?"
One problem — Kyrie Irving has a daughter who was born in 2015.
Next, Ball said that Irving can't comment on parenting because his mom wasn't around from the time Irving was four years old:
Maybe he don't have the relationship that me and Zo got. And I don't think he did. First of all, your mom wasn't there, so something's got to change right there. It's not the same. Lonzo can come home and see his mom and dad all the time. We've been together. Most people, with this talent, usually has a single parent. Not two of them together.
Uh, yeah, there's only one problem with that, Lavar — Irving's mom DIED when he was four years old. Here are the comments in video form, if you need them:
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So if you're keeping track at home, Lonzo Ball is coming into the league with the following active players possibly hating him because of his dad — the reigning two-time MVP (Curry), the greatest player on the planet (LeBron) and a rising All-Star point guard who is LeBron's teammate (Kyrie). Throw in the Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and, well...
Good luck, kid!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.