Lavar Ball. Everyone knows his name by now. Whether it has been his crazy statements on talk shows like ESPN’s “First Take” or Fox’s “The Herd;” or his crazy antics like pulling his 16-year old son out of high school; or even getting into twitter battles with the President of the United States, people have gotten to know this man. However, many people only see the bad side of Lavar Ball. Like any famous person, he’s got his haters, but no one has really ever backed him up and given him credit for what he has done for his kids.
Lavar surfaced on the national stage when he played college basketball at West Los Angeles College before transferring to Washington State and later to Cal-State Los Angeles. Although he was 6’6,” he struggled to put up even solid numbers. He averaged only 2 points at Washington State. After college, he was invited to a football tryout and was successful. He was signed to the New York Jets, but immediately loaned to an overseas team and eventually returned to the NFL. However, he never made it past the practice teams in the NFL despite being on both the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets. He retired due to injury and became a personal trainer.
Lavar Ball re-surfaced as his kids rose to fame. Lonzo Ball, the oldest son, started to gain attention for his play at UCLA in 2016. Lonzo was a 5-star recruit out of Chino Hills High School and was the 4th ranked player in the ESPN100 rankings. As more people paid attention to Lonzo, the rest of the family benefitted, including LaMelo and LiAngelo and, of course, Lavar. The other two younger sons, also at Chino Hills, also committed to UCLA. It was a basketball dynasty in the making. Lavar Ball saw this opportunity to make his family popular and something special.
Lavar sought to use the media as a mouthpiece and gain national attention. Many of Lavar’s ridiculous claims about Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry, and his kids caught the attention of the whole world. He said ridiculous things like his claim of MJ one-on-one in basketball, that Lonzo was better than Curry, or that all his kids will play for the Lakers. These claims seemed ridiculous and plainly dumb. However, they gained mass media attention, and some NBA players even clapped back at them, including Michael Jordan himself. Lavar went on many sports talk shows to put on even more of an act. Most famously, ESPN’s “First Take” and arguing with Stephen A. Smith on and off-air.
At this same time, Lavar launched his Big Baller Brand. He raised a business from the bottom up. The Brand started out small and mostly unheard of. However, Lavar went on television to promote the Brand and people started to buy the merchandise. The company really skyrocketed as Lonzo went to the NBA and chose Big Baller Brand over Nike, Adidas, and Jordan. Big Baller Brand came out with the ZO2s at the outrageous price of $495. Although many people didn’t buy these shoes, they have heard about the shoes and the company. The Brand became well-known and people actually started to buy their gear.
The success of Lonzo and the Big Baller Brand also rubbed off on the younger two brothers. LaMelo and LiAngelo were both comitted to UCLA to follow in the footsteps of their older brother. However, LiAngelo got arrested in China for stealing sunglasses during a team Exhibition Game Trip. Although this was a dark stain on the Ball family, Lavar did his best to pull them out of it. Liangelo was released with supposedly the help of Donald Trump. He was later pulled out of UCLA by his dad, due to a long suspension. LaMelo was also pulled out of his high school, due to issues with the coaches. It seemed like things were crumbling for the family, but a couple weeks later, the two sons signed with Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas of the Lithuanian Basketball League. Despite this seeming like a dumb move, it actually was genius. The sons are already stars in their new league and city. The sons are now professional basketball players and escaped the spider web of NCAA rules. LaMelo and LiAngelo both got their own signature shoe at the age of 16 and 17. The two sons will both be eligable for the draft in two years. Lavar also got something out of this new team: a new coaching job.
Many people simply turn their heads on Lavar and are ignorant to the fact that maybe Lavar’s antic’s were planned. Lavar has shown in his new show, “Ball in the Family,” that he has tremendous vision. Lavar knew what he was doing when he said controversial things on TV. He knew he would get national attention and the attention of many professional athletes and celebrities, and he did. He got himself and his family famous. Although Lonzo was hands down a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft, the attention he got from his dad got him to be a top-2 pick. Lavar helped his other two kids get into a great Division 1 school and although they didn’t play there, they ended up being professional overseas players. Lavar even got attention from the President of the United States and the best basketball players in the world. He also created a company from scratch that is still growing in huge numbers. Lavar has already achieved so much, especially considering that he started all this while just using the attention media of one of his sons. He has truly seized the opportunity and continues to grow the popularity of himself, his family, and his business. Lavar gets a bad wrap, until people can realize how smart this man is, they won’t ever appreciate what he has been able to do.