This Monday night, some of you may have flipped through channels and because of curiosity, boredom or a “secret guilty pleasure” you viewed WWE’s Monday Night Raw. Personally, I stopped watching Monday Night Raw since Charlotte Flair was moved to WWE Smackdown on Tuesday nights, but for a few others, they might have stumbled across something that to some may have seen as “over-the-top” and to others may have been “entertaining.” Regardless of what you felt, watching LaVar Ball take off his shirt in the middle of the wrestling ring flexing some kind of shadow-martial arts talent, was a sight to behold.
LaVar Ball, the famed (or in some circles “infamous”) father of Lonzo Ball, this year’s #2 overall draft pick for the Los Angeles Lakers, has been making waves for some time now. You have heard him claim that his son is better than Steph Curry and how he himself, LaVar, could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one. Of all his ridiculous claims he’s made, there was one that he nailed: that his son would be a Los Angeles Laker come draft night.
To effectively, truthfully and respectively break down what the Lakers got on draft night comes not only in the form of Lonzo Ball, but also his father.
It’s a package deal. If you get Lonzo, you get LaVar. And if you get LaVar, you’ll get the swag, the Big Baller Brand, the mouth and the confidence.
But lets start with the basketball side of things.
The Lakers sent former first round selection, D’Angelo Russell, packing to Brooklyn for Nets veteran center Brook Lopez. The Lakers felt it would be fine to move Russell based on the declaration of team president Magic Johnson who said what they needed was “a leader,” to guide the talent they have in Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram – two young players who have shown growing potential in the Lakers organization.
On good days, Lonzo Ball has been compared to Jason Kidd. Although Kidd may have been the physically stronger of the two, Ball is a wiry, athletic type, but in terms of instincts and passing ability the comparison is valid. Ball has an awkward jump shot but in college still hit 55% from the field and 41% from three-point-range. His free throw percentage of 67% is a little off-putting, but one would think with his shooting ability, that will improve to at least 75%.
The Lakers, at their best, are known as the Showtime Lakers. Los Angeles loyalists have been waiting for those glory days to re-appear. Although there is still building to do (even making the playoffs won’t be easy – remember, it’s the Western Conference) – LaVar brings a lot of Hollywood, to those fans clamoring for “showtime.”
LaVar ball is in the belief that all press — good or bad, is good at the end of the day and what he has done in establishing a market not only in the basketball world but outside of it, is remarkable. The Big Baller Brand may not have a lot of purchasers due to ridiculous price tags attached to their merchandise, but everyone knows the name, and it’s a topic more times than not in basketball discussions. The Ball “presence” has been felt by the NBA and Lonzo hasn’t even played in a scrimmage yet.
LaVar has already made himself nearly a regular guest on the ESPN and Fox Sports networks, and while the things he says waver on the “ridiculous”, it’s entertaining. For this Lakers team, they take on probably the biggest personality in the league in LaVar Ball. He has already spoken against Lonzo’s college teammates publicly – who’s to say that pattern won’t repeat again with the Lakers? It will be interesting to see how the Lakers “handle” LaVar Ball. Will there be any sit-downs with him, restrictions, etc. ?
The LaVar Ball antics, might actually be tolerated now because, Lonzo and the rest of this Lakers team is young – and barring any ridiculous acquisitions or multiple key injuries on other teams – the Lakers will be lucky to hover around being a 9th or 10th seed in the Western Conference. With that being said, LaVar may be the best show in town – BUT – if and when the Lakers become a more serious contender LaVar may have to be silenced . . . or maybe the return of the Showtime Lakers, will be enough to silence anything else in the city of Los Angeles.