LaVar Ball: It’s Complicated

The basketball world started hearing more about the Ball family two years ago when Lonzo Ball was talked about as a high school All-American and the future starting point guard of the UCLA Bruins. Soon enough, we were introduced to the man responsible for raising Lonzo Ball, his dad LaVar Ball. While Lonzo was quiet and unassuming in his play and his demeanor, his dad was demonstrative in his demeanor and heaped plenty of things upon his son all the while introducing us to his other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. All three were committed to UCLA and were going to be one-and-done players according to his dad. Fast forward to now and Lonzo is starting at point guard for the Lakers, LiAngelo was a freshman at UCLA and LaMelo is being homeschooled. How we got to this point is truly an interested story and it has everything to do with LaVar Ball. Once Lonzo made it to UCLA, he was talked about as a Top 5 pick and his dad was telling everyone what his son could do and even went as far as saying his son would make the Golden State Warriors better if he replaced Steph Curry at the point guard spot. While facetious in his talk to many and coming across as annoying to others, Lonzo had a great freshman season, entered the draft and became the second overall pick in the NBA Draft. From there, this is where the story takes a sharp turn no one really expected.

Of course the Big Baller Brand has been released upon us, Lonzo has a shoe and is starting for the Los Angeles Lakers, LaMelo has his own shoe before even graduating high school and the second Ball brother, LiAngelo was slated to enter his freshman year at UCLA. Even before the LiAngelo's freshman season started at UCLA, there was drama with the younger brother, LaMelo. The talented junior was pulled out of school after a disagreement between LaVar Ball and the coach at Chino Hill high school, where all three of his sons had attended. The result was LaVar saying that he was going to homeschool LaMelo and people would see him again in AAU ball. That decision was controversial in it's own right and drew the ire of some while some loved the move. Then came the issue in China with LiAngelo, where he was detained for stealing things in some stores while the Bruins were there to play a basketball game. He eventually made it back but was suspended from the team indefinitely. Then recently, LaVar Ball pulled his son from school and said that he would be preparing him for the NBA Draft and that he would be able to make him better than the Bruins would have. Just like that, Lonzo is in the NBA and his other brothers are not even enrolled in school at either level. Now come the news that LaVar will be trying to get the younger Ball brothers on teams overseas. As soon as that was announced, the move was met with criticism and love and it is all because of the man pulling the trigger on a lot of these decisions: LaVar Ball.

LaVar seems to want the best for his kids but he also seems to be a guy that loves the attention that he receives. With this latest decision, LaVar is now front and center and people are beginning to question what he is doing with his kids. Well, the one thing that we all have to learn is to let parents parent their own kids. While we all may not like what LaVar is doing, he is not breaking any laws and he is doing what he feels is best for his kids. He feels that his kids could do better outside of school and he also feels that he can help make his kids some money by doing their own shoe line instead of signing with other shoe companies. For that, I can definitely applaud the ingenuity. While building your own brand may not be the easiest of things to do, it is the most rewarding in the fact that you do not have to split the profits with anyone. That part of it is teaching his kids about getting their own and should be applauded no matter how wacky or crazy some may think LaVar Ball is. Along with that, you also notice that he is present in his kids' lives and that is excellent to see.

The presence of Ball in his sons' lives is awesome and the lesson about business is something that will be interesting to watch, but what has been equally interesting is his interactions when faced with decisions that he does not like. While he is the parent and can ultimately make the decision for his kids, some decisions look like he is the steering factor and that he takes his ball and goes home when he does not get his way. Whether LaVar likes it or not, he is not always going to be in control of every situation when it comes to his sons. There will be organizations, like the Lakers, that will have control of more things within the organization and with the player that is contractually theirs in his eldest son, Lonzo. With this latest decision to try and get his youngest overseas, it all seemed to have started from him disagreeing with someone and not being able to tell them how to do their jobs. Chino Hills brought a different angle and LaVar took his kid and went home. UCLA didn't feel LiAngelo was a huge factor in this year's team, he then takes his kid and goes home. Maybe he has a master lesson in plan, but the lesson that I keep seeing that he is showing is that it's his way or the high way in everything. In some situations, that is a great thing, but in others it may not be the best decision.

With this new plan he has hatched for his youngest sons, it will be interesting to watch it unfold. Of course it will take a few years for us to all see the end result, but you can bet that LaVar will keep us all updated. While it is easy to make a statement on his decisions and what he does, you can only hope the best for his sons. This is definitely an atypical situation for all three Ball sons and it can either make or break all of them. One thing we do know is LaVar Ball definitely does not do things the way all of us are used to and it will either be an ingenious move or one that could blow up in his face along with the faces of his sons. A father's love versus a father's plan: we shall see which one wins in the end.

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