On this episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Alex Kennedy is joined by Mirin Fader of Bleacher Report. She recently wrote a fantastic, in-depth piece about LaMelo Ball’s life. Alex and Mirin discuss how LaMelo has dealt with fame, his experience overseas, how he feels like people see him as “a dollar sign” rather than a person, his relationships with LaVar Ball and Lonzo Ball and more. Time-stamps are below!
1:00: Mirin spent three weeks in Lithuania with LaMelo and the Ball family last year, and then spent two weeks with them in Australia for this new piece. She talks about how this latest article came together.
2:05: Mirin talks about how she picks who she’s going to profile and what that process is like from reporting to writing.
5:00: Having spent time around LaMelo in Lithuania and Australia, how has his life changed over the last year? Mirin was curious to find out.
6:40: LaMelo started signing autographs at 5 years old and he says he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t in the spotlight. Alex and Mirin talk about how he was essentially a child star and how he has handled that kind of crazy existence.
8:40: LaVar Ball pushed all three of his sons to be professional basketball players. In Mirin’s piece, LaMelo said, “All my life, I felt like I was just supposed to go to the NBA.” He also talked about how his father pushed him away from any other career path. Does LaMelo love the game and will he be happy in the NBA, or is he just doing this to please others?
11:10: At one point, LaMelo said something very sad to Mirin: “People don’t look at you as a human. People look at you as a dollar sign.” And his manager, former NBA player Jermaine Jackson, told her, “People done made money off this kid for years… It’s damn near like he’s a prostitute.” Does this affect his relationships and ability to trust other people?
14:15: Mirin talks about the sacrifices LaMelo has made and how he’s been forced to grow up quicker than his peers.
16:15: LaMelo told Mirin that he always wanted to finish high school and spend one year at USC, but his father forced him to go to Lithuania. LaVar hasn’t been as visible recently, which seems intentional. Is he still as involved when it comes to LaMelo’s career?
19:50: Mirin talks about how LaMelo’s relationship with Lonzo seems to have changed, to the point that LaMelo said he doesn’t really get advice from Lonzo these days.
21:40: Lonzo seems fed up with Big Baller Brand. Does LaMelo have similar concerns and does anyone know the status of BBB right now?
23:55: What is LiAngelo Ball up to these days? What does the future hold for him?
26:35: Mirin wrote that LaMelo doesn’t want to do the “Ball in the Family” reality show and drags when he’s asked to film scenes. How is he handling that distraction and having so much of his life play out on a reality show?
29:00: Alex and Mirin talk about how different LaVar is from his sons.
33:14: Mirin talks about the competition in the NBL and whether LaMelo is being challenged and truly helping his development.
35:55: Will more players take the NBL route in the future, especially if LaMelo and RJ Hampton get drafted high in the 2020 NBA Draft?
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