Dec 7, 2018; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; LiAngelo Ball attends the game between Spire Institute and Bella Vista Prep at Chaparral High School. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
LiAngelo Ball is still trying to make it to the NBA like his two brothers, and is getting another shot in the NBA Summer League.
Ball was listed on the Charlotte Hornets’ Summer League roster Friday, suggesting the team still wants to take a look at him ahead of next season. He will have the chance to play alongside first round pick Mark Williams, as well as players like Nick Richards and JT Thor who briefly featured during the regular season last year.
The Hornets have had Ball’s rights since last August, so it is not a huge shock that they would give him an invite here. He played for them in Summer League last year and actually impressed quite a bit, though it was not enough to get him any NBA time.
The 23-year-old appeared in 28 games for the G League’s Greensboro Swarm last season, averaging 4.6 points per game in limited minutes.
Though the Charlotte Hornets organization employs two of his sons, that is not stopping LaVar Ball from being LaVar Ball.
The infamous Ball family father spoke this week with TMZ Sports and took a shot at the Hornets over their handling of middle son LiAngelo.
“They don’t understand what they got,” said LaVar of the Hornets. “They need to let my boy go ahead and play. I dropped them a superstar in the G League, and they don’t know what to do with him … Y’all got him right in your back door. Bring him in, let him play with Melo [LaMelo Ball].”
LaVar’s criticism is odd for a couple of reasons. For one, LiAngelo just made his debut for the Greensboro Swarm, Charlotte’s G League affiliate, a couple of weeks ago. It is rare for a player to make the leap from the G League to the NBA so soon unless they are on a two-way contract, which LiAngelo is not. For another, the Hornets have playoff aspirations this season, so it is not in their best interest to develop players from the G League. Finally, the Hornets have already given youngest Ball brother LaMelo a starring gig as the centerpiece of their offense, a role he has thrived in. Yet still, LaVar is finding ways to criticize the team.
Of course, we know that LaVar has always been more about entertainment than rationality. Thus, it is probably best to just laugh off these comments from LaVar, just like his past ones about the Hornets owner.
Photo: Jun 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; LaVar Ball the father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball (not pictured) in attendance before the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
LiAngelo Ball has finally gotten the call that he has been waiting for.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Thursday that the Charlotte Hornets have signed Ball to a non-guaranteed contract, adding that Ball will play for the team’s G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm. The 22-year-old was about to enter the G League Draft, but signing him outright instead will allow the Hornets to acquire Ball’s rights.
Ball, the older brother of Hornets star LaMelo, impressed many with his work ethic and strong play in Summer League. He averaged 9.6 points in just 17.4 minutes per game on a solid 34.5 percent clip from downtown.
The signing of LiAngelo brings the Hornets’ current roster to 19 players. He is not the only member of his famous family who has been making power moves lately either.
Photo: Dec 7, 2018; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; LiAngelo Ball attends the game between Spire Institute and Bella Vista Prep at Chaparral High School. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
LiAngelo Ball is back on track to making his NBA dream become a reality after a very public scandal set him back a few years ago. Now Ball is explaining how the incident helped shape him.
The middle Ball brother spoke to Shams Charania of The Athletic this week. In the interview, Ball addressed his well-publicized shoplifting incident in China back in 2017 that led to his departure from the UCLA basketball team.
“It made me who I am today,” said Ball of the scandal. “I done dealt with so much. I done heard everything — good and bad. Nothing really bothers me. My skin is thick. When I play today, I just keep that same energy.
“For sure, people cast judgment,” Ball continued. “I was young, I don’t look back on that. I just learned from it and kept pushing. I’m not gonna let one decision mess up my whole life.”
Ball, who will turn 23 later this year, has definitely shaken off the stench from the controversy, which occurred when he was still a teenager. He has worked hard to make it to the NBA and even became a fan favorite at this year’s Summer League with his excellent play. Now Ball could be in line to earn a roster spot from the Charlotte Hornets.
If you recall, Ball poked fun at himself over the incident a couple of years ago. Now he appears to have fully moved past and grown from it.
LiAngelo Ball might just be playing his way into a roster spot with the Charlotte Hornets.
Ball, who signed with the Hornets’ Summer League team, has impressed so far for the team. In Las Vegas Summer League action, the middle Ball brother has averaged 10.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game. Notably, he’s shooting over 40 percent from three point range, and has consistently looked like he belongs in the competition.
The Hornets are taking note of that too. NBA reporter Jordan Schulz said Sunday that the Hornets “love” Ball and that he has a chance for a spot in the G League or even the NBA. He also included a quote from Hornets assistant Jay Triano, who raved about Ball’s work ethic.
There have been other hints that Ball could well make the Hornets, where his younger brother LaMelo won Rookie of the Year honors last season. He’ll have to keep working hard and impressing, but at the very least, LiAngelo seems to understand what he needs to do to get himself on the radar, and he’s doing it.
The Charlotte Hornets may be on their way to collecting all of the Infinity Stones this offseason.
Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham posted a video to Instagram on Friday of a workout at the team facility. In Graham’s video, LiAngelo Ball was spotted in the room wearing Hornets gear. Take a look:
Ball’s younger brother LaMelo stars for the Hornets. A workout is obviously far from a guarantee that a team will sign a player. But LiAngelo’s family ties certainly have to help, as it is not unheard-of for teams to pair their star player with a less-heralded brother (e.g. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Zoran Dragic, etc.).
LiAngelo briefly signed with the Detroit Pistons for training camp last year but got waived without even appearing in a preseason game for them. It is also worth noting that eldest Ball brother Lonzo is a restricted free agent this offseason too. Thus, father LaVar’s dream scenario of having all three of his sons play on the same NBA team may be more realistic than you think.
At least publicly, LaVar Ball is still utterly convinced the entire NBA is missing the obvious about his son LiAngelo.
LiAngelo Ball was released by the Detroit Pistons after two preseason games, once again failing to catch on in the NBA. That didn’t stop LaVar from weighing in on his behalf in a question and answer session with fans for Bleacher Report.
“I definitely have thoughts on that,” LaVar said, via Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report. “The people in Detroit are great. I love the fans, but the franchise over there is raggedy as hell. They don’t know a good player. I was giving them a lottery pick for free! Has the skills to play and the notoriety to bring everybody to the game. How do you throw that out the window? They’re gonna learn the hard way. My boys are gonna end up together playing somewhere. ‘Gelo can shoot the lights out. That was raggedy what they did. But hey, they’re gonna learn the hard way.”
LiAngelo has never caught on with an NBA team, so either everyone is missing the same thing or LaVar is just talking for the sake of talking. Given how badly some of his previous predictions have held up, it’s almost certainly the latter. That’s especially true when LaVar has quietly admitted things like this in the past.
The possibility of all three Ball brothers playing in the NBA at once remains alive.
LiAngelo Ball has agreed to sign a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Detroit Pistons, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Ball, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo Ball and older brother of first-round draft pick LaMelo Ball, signed with the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA G League as a practice player late last year. He was then added to the team’s actual roster via a waiver claim in March, but the Blue played just one game due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ball did not appear in the game.
LiAngelo has not shown nearly as much promise as his two brothers. He was also involved in an embarrassing incident in China when he was at UCLA back in 2017.
While Lonzo is an established NBA player and LaMelo was was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, LiAngelo still has his work cut out for him to make the Pistons roster.
Say what you will about the Ball family, but there is no denying they produce some tremendous basketball players. Two of the three Ball brothers are now in the NBA with another playing in the G League, and it turns out Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo may have played on the most talented high school basketball team of all time.
The three Ball players played on the same Chino Hills High School team as former USC star Onyeka Okongwu, who was the No. 6 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Wednesday night, and Loyola Marymount standout Eli Scott. Have a look at this starting five from the Chino Hills team that went 35-0 four years ago:
There have been some great high school teams over the years that featured multiple players who went on the enjoy NBA careers. One that comes to mind in recent history was the 2013-14 Montverde Academy (Fla.) team, which had D’Angelo Russell and Ben Simmons. We’d still take the Chino Hills team.
Of course, those Chino Hills teams paid a price for greatness. Their coaches had to put up with LaVar Ball, which sounds like it was never an easy task. At least they have arguably the greatest high school team of all time to show for it.
The three Ball brothers have new representation.
LaMelo, Lonzo, and LiAngelo Ball will all sign with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, according to LaMelo’s manager Jermaine Jackson.
“This was a family decision,” Jackson told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “This is now an extended family. They put together a beautiful game plan with Jay-Z. The basketball game is about to change. They are going to create something totally new.
“We talked to several agents, but the family had good vibes with Roc Nation. I’ve known Jay-Z since I played for the Knicks, but this is what the kids wanted to do. Jay-Z is a master at what he does. He’s global. It’s power beyond power.”
Roc Nation will handle marketing for the three Ball brothers, and Raymond Brothers will act as their primary agent. Among the first tasks will be sorting out a sneaker deal for LaMelo Ball, who is expected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA Draft.
It sounds like the Ball brothers are moving into new territory with their brand. They have all been closely linked with father LaVar’s Big Baller Brand, but Lonzo strongly distanced himself from that last year. Roc Nation has growing clout in the sports world, and getting the Ball brothers on board should continue that growth.