Dear LaVar Ball, enough is enough

Bret Belden

Like it or not, it had to be said. Ever since LaVar Ball, who seemed to come out of nowhere, uttered the words that his son, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, could be better than two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, LaVar has been on a media firestorm.

That statement then turned to Lonzo is better now compared to when Curry was at Davidson. Then that morphed into Lonzo is better than Curry right now. Mind you that Lonzo has yet to play a single minute of NBA basketball. Then that morphed into Lonzo is Magic Johnson with a jump shot.

Oh wait, I’m not done yet. Since LaVar is such a humble and selfless human being (I say that with as much sarcasm as humanly possible), he has the audacity to say he could beat Michael Jordan, yeah, that Michael Jordan, in a game of one-on-one basketball.

LaVar is a guy that played “professional” football for the London Monarchs in the World American Football League (yeah, I had to look it up too to see if it was legit) and was a fringe practice squad player in the NFL. That same guy thinks he could beat the greatest BASKETBALL player of all-time in a game of one-on-one. I’m as tired as writing all of this as you are reading about it. This leads me to my proposal to LaVar Ball: sit down and shut up.

I try to see both sides of the man, understand where he is coming from but I always come to the conclusion that he should just be quiet. However, I must acknowledge that the Ball brothers are very fortunate to have a supportive father in their life. That is one positive thing I can say about LaVar.

You can’t say that he is not supportive of his sons and that he doesn’t want to see them succeed. I don’t want to create an over generalized assumption about the lives of professional athletes but the popular narrative is that some of the successful athletes come from very hard backgrounds.

They come from tough neighborhoods and grew up with certain hardships. So, the fact that LaVar is present in his sons’ lives and is supportive of whatever endeavor they pursue is something I can respect and even admire. I would do the same if I knew my kid had the potential to be a very successful athlete.

That would be fine if he wasn’t so brash and arrogant about it. That is the problem I have with him.

He reminds me of that parent who verbally abuses the refs on the sideline during a grade school basketball game. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on the sequel to Trophy Kids. I wonder if he even knows what kind of pressure he is putting on his kids. Does he not realize that when his kids go to the pros the other players in the locker room, because of LaVar, will alienate them?

Then, there’s the fact that his kids haven’t even played professionally. They could be absolute flops and all that trash talk would be for nothing. So, one word of advice I can give LaVar is this: the day Lonzo wins more that LeBron and scores more than Curry, then you can talk. Until then sit down, shut up and enjoy that you are watching your kids become successful basketball players.

Daniel is a senior journalism major. You can catch Daniel talking sports on Tuesday morning “Wildchats” from 7-9 a.m. on 91.3FM WUNH Durham.