Notorious NBA father LaVar Ball has decided to pull his son, LaMelo Ball, from high school. What will be next for the young basketball star?
Reports indicate LaMelo will not return to Chino Hills High School, which is where older brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo attended before they went to UCLA to play basketball. LiAngelo has not yet played a game for the program, while Lonzo has spent one season at the school before joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
Even though Lonzo and LiAngelo both played all four years at the same high school, LaMelo will instead be home-schooled for the next two years.
Ramona Shelburne spoke with LaVar about what this decision means for his son’s next steps. LaMelo is currently committed to play for UCLA (via ESPN):
“It’s a new coach and I don’t like him one bit. He’s on track for UCLA, but he doesn’t have to be dealing with those knuckleheads [at Chino Hills]. I’m not letting them mess with his head anymore.”
However, there is a potential wrinkle in that plot considering LaMelo has his own signature shoe. The sneaker is marketed as the first of its kind for a high school player, although that may be largely due to the fact that it could impact his eligibility to play in college.
Article 12 of the NCAA Division I Manual notes that a player loses amateur status if they use their athletic skill for pay or accept payment. Exceptions are only if the payment comes independent of athletic ability.
The shoes market him as a basketball player and LaMelo would likely need to entirely disassociate from Big Baller Brand to stay within college basketball compliance.
But that doesn’t seem to be a concern for LaVar who suggested that LaMelo could skip college:
“Who cares? He won’t go to the NCAA. ‘Oh, he better go overseas.’ Why? All he gotta do is be faster and stronger. And when it’s time to prepare, we could sit out for as long as we want.”
Rather than deal with the complexities of the issue, perhaps LaVar will elect for LaMelo to also skip college. He would not be eligible for the NBA until the 2020 NBA Draft, so he has nearly three years to get ready for the league.
Rodger Sherman painted a picture of the possibility of focusing solely on training with his father (via The Ringer):
“LaVar Ball has decided the best route in any situation is to keep everything within the family. Lonzo didn’t sign with Nike or Under Armour or Adidas, turning down million-dollar deals to jumpstart Big Baller Brand. LaMelo doesn’t play for somebody else’s AAU team, but the Big Baller Brand team, coached by LaVar.”
While unprecedented, most things about this family tend to seem that way at first.
For more context, watch the full clip of LaVar discussing the potential ineligibility on ESPN.
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