Over the past couple of months, a new celebrity has emerged across multiple sports and social media platforms. LaVar Ball has arrived, and unless you've been living under a rock since February, you've heard. Actually, even if you have been living under a rock, I'm pretty certain that you've heard of the elder Ball because he's pretty damn loud and near impossible to not hear.
LaVar is the father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, a product of Chino Hills and The University of California Los Angeles. Lozno is slated to be a lottery pick in the NBA's upcoming draft due to his immense talent and playmaking skills. He's far from the perfect player and many franchises have their doubts about him, due to his unconventional shooting form and the baggage that he brings with him.
While the former is something that is through his own fault, the baggage in the form of his father is something that he, unfortunately, has no control over. Lonzo can't control what comes out of the mouth of his father, and neither can anyone else.
At this point, many of us are annoyed with LaVar. By 'us' I mean society, because if you're reading this, you probably have a little bit of disdain for LaVar after his recent string of events, including an on-air embarrassment on The Herd with Colin Cowherd and Kristine Leahy this past week. Ball would not engage Leahy in conversation, brushing her off, being extremely rude and arrogant and ultimately telling her to 'stay in your lane'.
LaVar Ball has turned into a modern day Don King. King, the legendary boxing promoter who represented clients such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Evander Holifield, just to name a few, was known for being incredibly outspoken. While he was full of bravado, his clients were too. The same cannot be said of Ball, who greatly overshadows his son. While the eldest Ball son might be talented, he has not proven much to this point, certainly not enough to warrant a $495 signature shoe before he plays a single second in the NBA. His father suggests that he's a 'Big Baller' and that if one cannot afford the shoes they're not deserving of that status, and according to LaVar, women aren't, either.
The reason LaVar and Lonzo have exploded onto the scene isn't because of spectacular performance of Lonzo, either. The reason is mainstream sports outlets have repeatedly given him a platform to express himself. While after his most recent episode that may stop, it has still given the family plenty of undeserved exposure. Fox Sports 1 has been the biggest culprit of this, with ESPN to a lesser degree contributing. To ESPN's credit, they pumped the brakes on Ball far before FS1 did.
I struggled while deciding if I wanted to write this column because I didn't want to give them more exposure than they've already been given. I'm at the point where I cringe every time I see LaVar in the headlines because I feel he's earned that cringe from me. Ball's continued demeaning antics are part of the issue with some things in society these days. Demeaning others for uncontrollable things has no place in the world. Ball's confrontation with Leahy drew quite a bit of attention, however his back and forth with Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't pick up as much steam.
LaVar calling out Irving without being factually correct isn't all that surprising. While him claiming that Irving doesn't know what it's like to be a father is ignorant, it's not even the worst thing about his statement. Ball essentially ridiculed Irving because Irving's mother, Elizabeth, passed away when he was four. The ignorance flowing out of Ball's mouth is alarming, but not all that surprising.
We're partly to blame for talking about him as much as we have as a Twitter and Facebook community, and even this article. It's something we need to stop giving our time, energy, and tweets towards.