• Rick Niedermayer Jr

The Greatest Father in the NBA

With the National Basketball Association draft concluding Wednesday night, November 18th, the normal questions asked are about the players, ‘who is going to the biggest star of the draft?’ or ‘who is going to be the biggest bust of the draft?’ but this year a different question was asked and it wasn’t about a player drafted, it was about a dad. LaVar Ball, father of 3 professional basket players, most notably Lonzo Ball, who was drafted 2nd overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, after playing single season at UCLA. This draft saw the Ball family have another son drafted in the top 3 picks of the draft, with LaMelo Ball being taken 3rd overall by the Charlotte Hornets. For the Ball family, especially LaVar, that pick made NBA history, as it is the first time that brothers have been picked in the top 3 picks of the NBA draft. Which caused the question to be asked: Is LaVar Ball the greatest father in the NBA?

In 2017, when Lonzo Ball was drafted by the Lakers, LaVar was loud, vocal and sometimes even considered annoying when talking about Lonzo. He had very public verbal clashes with NBA Hall Of Famer Charles Barkley, ESPN Analyst Stephen A. Smith and others, as well as comparing Lonzo to Magic Johnson. LaVar told Stephen A. Smith on ESPN First Take “Lonzo (would) have the same impact Magic (Johnson) had. I’m trying to tell you. Same Impact.” LaVar continued and said “Lonzo Was Magic with a jump shot. What I mean by that is everybody wants to play with him. The winning, the running, the long passes. They tried to compare him to Jason Kidd, but if you look at it he’s more like Penny Hardaway, (with his) size, length style.” LaVar had other outlandish quotes about Lonzo leading up to the draft, which looking back was pure genius. Lonzo when compared and analyzed, was more of a top 10 pick, nobody denied his passing and vision, but his jump shot was inconsistent and in his duel with with De’Aaron Fox in the sweet 16 before the draft, with Fox scoring 39 points against Lonzo, who scored 10 points and turned the ball over 4 times. Lonzo was projected to be the 4th best Point Guard in that draft, but was taken ahead of future NBA All Star Jayson Tatum.

LaVar Ball can be considered a hype man of the grandest level ever. With LaMelo Ball, his path was different. LaVar has sat back and let LaMelo’s play do the talking. After a dispute with coaches at high school basketball power house Chino Hills High School, LaMelo left School and signed with Lithuanian pro team Prienai, where he showed the world his explosive potential. LaMelo came back to the states where he joined the SPIRE Institute and Academy in Ohio as a Senor. LaMelo joined the Illawarra Hawks in Australia and went on to be the Rookie of the Year.

Now being the 3rd pick in the draft, it does seem that LaVar Ball knew what he was doing with his sons LaMelo and Lonzo. Will LaVar become vocal again and a public figure if LaMelo can do what is being asked, help the Hornets and Michael Jordan become a successful team. Only time will tell, but if LaMelo lives up to his potential, LaVar Ball will go down as one of the greatest fathers in not only the NBA, but in all of sports.

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