At this point, it’s par for the course when LaVar Ball says something absurd about one of his sons or basketball in general. His latest, though, is particularly noteworthy for its silliness.
Ball recent joined Complex’s “Load Management” podcast, in which he said that his son Lonzo essentially made Zion Williamson the star that he is with the Pelicans.
“Take my boy out the situation and see how much buzz you get,” Ball said, via Jose Martinez of Complex. “He’d probably still be out for the season. … I don’t care how fast you can run and jump, if you ain’t got nobody to get you that ball, guess what you going to be doing? Running and jumping out there for nothing.”
Yeah, no. Williamson was one of the biggest stars in the sport at Duke and one of the most hyped top draft picks in recent memory. Lonzo Ball had nothing to do with any of that.
The reality is that Lonzo and Zion have had a mutually beneficial on-court relationship, and have made each other better. Ball is having his best NBA season in New Orleans. All of this is true, but LaVar doesn’t care to draw attention to that. He’d rather just make stupid comments like this one.
LaMelo Ball is among the top prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft (whenever it ends up taking place) and will most likely go in the top five picks. If it’s up to his big-mouthed father, LaMelo would be going No. 1 overall for a few reasons.
LaVar Ball joined the “Pardon My Take” podcast last week and told hosts Big Cat and PFT why LaMelo should go No. 1.
“In the draft, when you have the No. 1 pick, you want to take a guy who’s most popular. That’s one of the things you want to have — like Zion (Williamson) was most popular last year. And then the second thing is you probably want to take the best guard because that’s how the game is changing. Melo is both of those,” LaVar said.
“So if you’re going to start your franchise and you want to put people in the seats, you gotta get Melo.”
There has been some chatter that the inability of teams to interview players would hurt LaMelo, because teams would want to learn what kind of involvement LaVar would have in matters. LaVar has already shared some opinions. He says he doesn’t want LaMelo to go anywhere a coach would restrict him and put him in a box, which is what he felt happened with oldest son Lonzo on the Lakers.
Of course, a LaVar Ball interview would not be complete without some outlandish talk. LaVar talked his usual nonsense, saying he would win a championship in the NBA if he were coaching all three of his sons. He also said he would have schooled Zion Williamson if they played. That’s almost as funny as LaVar’s original comment about Michael Jordan.
The sports world has operated without the loud presence of LaVar Ball for around a year or so, but that appears to be changing. Ball seems to be intent on resurrecting his Big Baller Brand company.
LaVar, the loudmouth father of sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, was a guest on Joy Taylor’s “Maybe I’m Crazy” podcast and talked about plans for Big Baller Brand. LaVar says the next step is to offer future athletes ownership stakes in the company.
“I’m going to look for the next best representation of the BBBs and athletes. To get started, I mainly focused on my boys, and that was the thing, and people thought it was just going to be my three boys and that’s it. Nah, they got some superstars coming out every year, and I’m going to start approaching them,” LaVar told Taylor.
“It’s going to be different on my part … I’m going to offer these next athletes ownership. That’s different than endorsement. And when that endorsement falls down, that’s what’s going to be the new business model.”
Big Baller Brand started with a bang when LaVar was doing all his crazy hyping of his sons, generating tons of publicity. Things started to unravel when Lonzo’s time with the Lakers didn’t go well, LiAngelo was kicked off the UCLA team, and Gelo and LaMelo went to Lithuania. The brand started developing a poor business reputation for its inability to produce its clothing and shoes on time and fulfill customer orders.
Lonzo eventually left the company, suing one of the co-founders and later bashing the shoes they created. Co-founder Alan Foster filed a $2.5 million countersuit calling out LaVar Ball, leading to the company restructuring.
Maybe LaVar has sorted things out, because it seems he is back in a familiar role from a few years ago of drumming up publicity once again. The timing also coincides with LaMelo being a few months away from becoming a high pick in the NBA Draft.
As for the business plan of offering ownership stake, that might be what it takes up front to attract some athletes, but after a while, too much ownership might be given away
Here is the interview clip of LaVar with Joy Taylor:
— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) March 9, 2020
The New York Knicks don’t have much going for them at the moment, but LaVar Ball thinks that his youngest son might be able to change all that.
Appearing this week on FS1’s “Undisputed,” Ball said that he believes the Knicks are the best fit for 18-year-old son LaMelo, a projected top lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Where does LaVar Ball want his son LaMelo to play?
"The best fit in my eyes is the New York Knicks"
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) March 4, 2020
“The best fit in my eyes is New York, the New York Knicks,” said LaVar. “Because I know Melo. Melo is a big city guy. He likes lights. He likes that. He’d love it.
“I think it’s about time for New York,” he added. “I kinda feel they’re gonna get the first pick on the fact that they missed it so many times and it’s time for something good to happen to them … New York could be great for him.”
LaMelo is a 6-foot-8 scorer and playmaker who plays a point guard position that the Knicks have yet to find a mainstay at (currently cycling among the likes of Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr, and Frank Ntilikina). The team also has the fifth-worst record in the NBA right now at 19-42.
The former Chino Hills High School star has been scouted by a number of other (albeit smaller-market) teams, but both father and son seem to have a bigger goal in mind.
LaVar Ball was once again given a forum to make his outlandish statements and predictions on Tuesday, and the Big Baller Brand founder did not disappoint.
Ball discussed all three of his sons during an appearance on FS1’s “UNDISPUTED,” and he was asked about the potential of his oldest son Lonzo facing Lonzo’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the playoffs. The New Orleans Pelicans entered Tuesday 3.5 games back of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, but LaVar said he has no doubt the Pelicans are going to reach the postseason. And when they do, LaVar says they will pull off a massive upset over the Lakers because Lonzo will be in “revenge mode.”
.@Lavarbigballer on possible Lakers vs Pelicans playoff matchup:
"The Lakers will lose…Let me tell you why, you've got my son in a different mode. You've never seen my son in playoff mode and ain't never seen him in revenge mode." pic.twitter.com/xf2ou27bNY
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) March 3, 2020
If you can believe it, that may not have been the most outlandish claim LaVar made. He also guaranteed that his middle son LiAngelo, who went undrafted two years ago and last played for the Los Angeles Ballers of the BBB’s Junior Basketball Association, will be on an NBA roster within three years and lead the league in scoring.
"Zion can lead this league in scoring regularly till my other son gets there. When Gelo gets in the NBA, within 3 years, I guarantee you he's a scoring champ. Guarantee you."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 3, 2020
There’s no way of knowing if LaVar actually believes these things, but making absurd predictions about his sons has helped his family become successful. As long as he keeps landing interviews, he’s going to stick with what works.
While it’s highly unlikely that the Pelicans would knock the Lakers out of the playoffs, NBA fans would love to see LeBron James battle it out with Zion Williamson in a seven-game series. We recently got a teaser of what that might look like, and there’s no question it’d be great for the game. In the event that New Orleans did pull an upset, you can almost guarantee Williamson would play a bigger role in it than “revenge mode” Lonzo Ball.
Reports of the demise of the Big Baller Brand appear to have been premature.
A brand spokesperson said Wednesday that LaVar Ball is in the process of “restructuring” the company and plans to launch a new website soon.
“The Big Baller Brand is alive and well,” Denise White, Ball’s rep, told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “The brand has been restructuring and we are working to reveal the new website in the next few weeks. It will have a new look and new name (www.BigBallerBrandInc.com).
“LaVar Ball has put a great team of seasoned industry professionals in place to move the brand forward with exciting new products along with signature shoes and sportswear under the Ball name. Unfortunately Alan Foster continues to try and leverage the Ball Family name for his own gain. Alan Foster is a convicted felon who served seven years in jail for defrauding people out of their money. He is a thief and con man and cannot be believed or trusted.”
In other words, if you’re a Big Baller Brand enthusiast, that’s good news for you. Ball has consistently denied the brand was ending despite the fact that he ended up severing ties with co-founder Alan Foster, who was accused of defrauding the family.
It remains to be seen whether Lonzo Ball will have any involvement with the new Big Baller Brand after he distanced himself from the original venture. It also remains to be seen whether the products will be any better than they used to be.
LaVar Ball issued a statement on Thursday in response to the lawsuit filed by his former business partner, Alan Foster.
Foster filed a suit that alleges Ball embezzled $2.5 million from Big Baller Brand to finance his personal life of luxury. Foster was sued in April by Lonzo Ball for allegedly stealing $1.5 million from the New Orleans Pelicans guard. Foster said in his suit that he invested money into Big Baller Brand and personally covered many of Lonzo’s college expenses via a loan.
Here is LaVar’s response, via TMZ Sports.
“Alan Foster’s claims are not only unfounded and devoid of any truth, but are an egregious attempt to turn the attention away from the millions of dollars that he embezzled from the Ball Family and the Ball Family Business. Not only will LaVar Ball and his family continue to vigorously pursue their civil action against Foster seeking civil damages, but will also continue to cooperate with law enforcement in order to seek justice for his egregious actions.”
“The Ball family are all united in relentlessly pursuing Foster for his grave injustices, and will always fight to protect the respected Ball family name, despite Foster’s futile attempt to defile it.”
Foster’s filing was a countersuit to Lonzo’s lawsuit, which is why the statement references pursuing civil action seeking damages against Foster. A report in April said Foster was being investigated by the FBI.
Foster has previously served prison time for running a fraudulent stock scheme.