Will UCLA star Lonzo Ball be hurt by his fathers comments? There are those that say no, and here’s why.
UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball is undoubtedly the team’s best point guard since Russell Westbrook. Averaging 15 points and 7.6 assists per game, Lonzo is expected to carry UCLA to a PAC-12 championship and eventually be selected with one of the top three picks in the 2017 NBA Draft in June. However, without saying a single word, he is making more news off the court, than he is on the court.
Why, you ask? Well, it all comes down to his exuberant father, LaVar Ball.
Big Mouth Maniac
LaVar Ball has made national news with his outlandish comments comparing his son to Stephen Curry, suggesting that the Lakers are their preferred destination and even equating Lonzo’s branding power to that of his airness, Michael Jordan. With each statement seemingly more outlandish than the last, LaVar has left a bad taste in the mouth of sports fans everywhere. His demeanor comes off belligerent and overbearing, similar to that of a beauty pageant parent that just doesn’t seem to know when to shut up.
However, over the past couple of weeks, media outlets have been unable to turn away, watching like a deer in headlights, hanging on to every polarizing word he speaks. Most recently, Mr. Ball took to Twitter and made his son’s case for being the number one pick in the NBA draft.
LaVar Ball on why Lonzo Ball should be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft: pic.twitter.com/bl8UKSdZv0
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 2, 2017
There are those who believe LaVar’s comments to be irritating and borderline blasphemous, but there are those who secretly see the Ball patriarch as a genius.
Evil Marketing Genius
Despite what side of the argument you are on, one thing’s for certain, you’ve now heard of Lonzo Ball and he is probably the only projected top 10 pick you can name. Go ahead and try, don’t worry, I’ll wait … In dramatic fashion, LaVar Ball has made his son the only relevant college player in the country. His comments have infiltrated talk shows, barbershops and living rooms across the United States, making everyone take notice of his son’s talent.
LaVar is preemptively working to put Lonzo and his two younger brothers, who are also basketball prodigies, in the best possible position to build a sports empire with the “Big Baller Brand,” the family’s apparel company.
It’s not hard to see the influence behind LaVar’s comments. Right now, UCLA is making millions of dollars off of Lonzo and every other NCAA player at their school and when most players move on to a professional sports career, they trade in the university for agents, corporations and team owners, who all take a portion of their earning potential.
LaVar is in his own way trying to ensure his son’s are not taken advantage of and are look to as business partners, not just employees.
“They’re kicking in the door, but they’re shocked at what I’m telling them. I said, I’m not looking for no endorsement deal. I’m looking for a marketing and distribution deal.’ Branding. The only person doing that is (Michael) Jordan with Nike. That’s what we’re for. If Lonzo doesn’t sign with Adidas, Nike, or Under Armour, guess what – I’ll sign the Big Baller Brand. We already got our own brand. Triple Bs. Lonzo is going to be the first one drafted with his own brand. That don’t happen.”
Will LaVar’s approach end up blowing up in his face? Only time will tell, but the entire country is now invested in this young man’s future. LaVar Ball has done what he has set out to do and shows no signs of going silent anytime soon.