If you have been paying any attention to college basketball this season, then the name LaVar Ball should ring a bell. He is the controversial and hyper-confident father of the Ball brothers: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo.
Throughout March Madness, Ball made sports headlines with outrageous comments concerning himself and his son, Lonzo, the one-and-done point guard from UCLA.
In a recent interview, Ball boasted that in his playing days he would “kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.” In his playing days, LaVar Ball averaged two points a game in college.
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Would Ball really beat Michael Jordan in a one-on-one game? Of course not. It is a borderline blasphemous statement to say the least.
In another interview, Ball said his son, Lonzo, was better than Steph Curry.
“Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now, and put my boy on Golden State, and watch what happens,” Ball said.
To say Lonzo Ball, 19, is better than Stephen Curry, a two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, is laughable.
Yes, LaVar Ball’s comments are controversial and plain ridiculous. With that said, I don’t think the content of his comments are what we should be focusing on.
Ball’s unfiltered comments make sense when we focus on the effects of them. He doesn’t rant for the sake of being reasonable. He rants for the sake of being noticed. Ball knows the media loves controversy. So, he’s going to keep making outrageous statements because he knows that all publicity is good publicity.
As with any big personality, Ball has attracted many critics and supporters. Sterling Bennett, a sophomore sports journalism major, said Ball is only in it for himself.
“It seems like he is trying to make himself look better because his college career was so bad,” Bennett said. “Now he’s trying to get a reality show; it feels like he’s in it for the money and trying to make himself famous.”
Blair Lewis, a sophomore communications major, is a big supporter of Ball and thinks he is smart for saying controversial things.
“It’s a good business move. I don’t think he literally takes it seriously. He’s just promoting his brand in order to help his family out so I see no problem with his comments,” Lewis said.
There’s no question Ball loves the limelight, but he uses the attention to promote his boys and his family brand, the Big Baller Brand. That’s not being selfish, that’s being opportunistic and business savvy.
For the most part, I agree that publicity is a good thing and I applaud Ball’s utilization of the attention. However, I can see how too much of it could be a problem.
“Publicity is good but too much publicity is not good. At times, he takes it too far and it makes people resent him and his kids,” Bennett said. “People might take their hatred for him out onto his kids.”
It’s very possible that Ball and his comments could cause future problems for his kids on the court.
“Him talking too much will add pressure to his kids. The pressure won’t come from LaVar, but it will come from players who don’t like what their dad says,” Lewis said.
At the end of the day, the media attention should be on LaVar Ball’s kids because they are the ones playing, not him. But if the media continues to give Ball the spotlight, I see no problem with him using it to advance his family and his brand.