The year was 2003, and there was a 6’8 240lb high school athlete in Ohio dominating local and national media attention. He was the number one high school athlete in the nation who had just appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and signed a 90 million dollar contract with Nike before even stepping in an NBA arena. His name was Lebron James, and we had never seen anything quite like him or the attention he had garnered before, until we were introduced to the Ball family.
Enter Lavar Ball, the head of the Ball household who has been dominating headlines for the past year. Lavar, who is never afraid to speak his mind to say the least, has been the mastermind behind promoting BBB (Big Baller Brand) which includes his three very talented sons; Lonzo (the number 2 pick from UCLA who garnered national attention with his college play and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers), LiAngelo (shooting guard for UCLA), and LaMelo (high school junior committed to UCLA). With the recent decision to pull LaMelo from high school in order to homeschool him, USA Today declared Lavar Ball the “Worst Sports Parent Ever.” But is he really? Lavar might make outlandish statements at times (such as being able to beat THE Michael Jordan one on one), and act in manners that showcase poor sportsmanship (such as calling his sons teammates out, and pulling his entire AAU team from a game because he was displeased with a call from a referee). But is he really a bad sports parent?
You can say a lot of things about Lavar, but you can’t say he isn’t fiercely protective over his sons. Nobody gets over on the Ball Boys, and that’s thanks to Lavar himself. You also can’t say he hasn’t trained and developed his boys into great basketball players because one is projected to be a superstar in the NBA; one is at a UCLA and just might be in NBA as early as next year; and one is committed to UCLA and will probably be in the NBA as well. Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo, weren’t trained by coaches, they were trained by Lavar. You can call Lavar whatever you want. You can call out his attitude, you can say he is a poor sport; you can even call him crazy. But you can’t say he is the worst sports parent ever, and you can’t deny the love he has for his boys. You also can’t deny the success he has had with his boys. After all, some consider Joe Jackson to be “the worst stage parent ever,” and look at how that turned out.