“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” LaVar Ball said. “I told Lonzo - ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.' It turned out the that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”
A day after LeBron James told him to "keep my kids' name out of your mouth," LaVar Ball doubled down on his opinion that the children of star athletes don't themselves become star athletes. "I gave an opinion on what I felt about no superstars' kids really being superstars and the fact that they have to live up to their parents or to their fathers or whatever. I have yet to see one, and I've been around for 50 years," Ball said in an interview with SiriusXM's "Full Ride" on Wednesday. "Have you seen one where the superstar's son is just as good or better than him? I said a superstar. I ain't saying just a regular player. I'm talking about a guy who we picture as an icon -- a Dr. J, an Allen Iverson, a LeBron James. If somebody asks me a question, I'm gonna give them an answer."
Not content to just reiterate his point, Ball also went on the offensive against James on Wednesday. "I don't care what LeBron said," Ball said. "He talking about he warned me. He warned me for what? What is a warning going to do? Nothing."
Appearing Tuesday on FOX Sports Radio’s JT “The Brick” with Tomm Looney show, Ball reiterated his comments about LeBron’s sons just hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers star asked that he keep his family out of it. "I have no problem with LeBron, they asked me a question about if I thought superstar players’ kids were good. My opinion is I’ve never seen one that’s been really good. LeBron is going to make his kids one of the best players ever according to him."
The full interview is well worth your time, but LaVar goes on to say that he’s not going to change his ways, no matter who he offends. “I don’t care, they not going to stop me from doing what I’m doing. If they get a little touchy about it, who cares,” Ball said. “They’re not gonna do nothing to me and I’m not gonna do nothing to them, it’s not a big deal.”
The Bruins kicked off their NCAA run Friday night with a convincing 97-80 win over Kent State, and Lonzo, to his credit, hasn't let the surrounding noise get to him. But Ball's father seems to have already turned his attention to the NBA. "Why shouldn't they (pick Lonzo first)? ... If you've got a kid who makes everybody better, you mean to tell me you wouldn't take him over a guy that's just averaging 40 points and does all this stuff and losing? The key to the game is winning. If you want a winner, you pick my boy," LaVar told TMZ.
Fultz, whose Washington Huskies didn't make the tournament, averaged just over 23 points and nearly six rebounds and assists this season. The Huskies were just 9-22 on the season, and Fultz has already announced his intention to go pro. Despite Fultz's gaudy numbers, Ball's father, unsurprisingly, continued stumping for his son. "Look what he did to UCLA. They 15-17 last year. You bring one dude and change the culture, that's what you want," he said. "He's going to go to the Lakers. Watch. The Lakers gonna get that ball, and then they gonna get that Ball."
In the interview, Ball was asked about the pressure that comes to sons of former great players. He used the question as a soapbox to claim that LeBron James’ sons essentially don’t stand much of a chance to emerge as basketball stars. As noted by 247 Sports, here’s the full context of the elder Ball’s quote: Here’s the thing, you gotta play the odds and the percentages,” said Ball. “There’s been a lot of great players, and all of their sons are whack.” “Kareem’s got sons, Jordan’s got sons, Shaq’s got sons.” “His son is pretty good too,” said Broussard.
“His son is alright,” Ball quickly interjected. “…the monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn’t that good. They were OK, they was players, but the fact that the old Curry wasn’t no All-Star, he wasn’t cold. He could shoot the ball though. Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that, that’s why he’s such a monster.” You got LeBron, it’s gonna be so hard for his kids, cause they gonna look at them like ‘you gotta be just like your dad.’ And after a while that pressure starts sitting on you like ‘why do I gotta be like him, why can’t I just be me?’ And then they’re gonna be like ‘aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
During the interview, Ball also said he is prepared to package Lonzo and his two other sons — LiAngelo, a high school senior who has signed with UCLA, and LaMelo, a high school sophomore who has committed to UCLA — for a marketing deal with Nike, Adidas or Under Armour. “A billion dollars, it has to be there," Ball said. “That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 mil over 10 years."
The Ball boys already are riding in style — at least the two that have driver’s licenses. Lonzo and LiAngelo each drive $100,000 BMWs, said Ball, who is a self-employed personal trainer and whose wife, Tina, is a middle school physical education teacher. “To get my boys a little $100,000 car, that’s nothing,’’ he said. “I don’t have to pay for education. I’m saving over $1 million dollars."
If you thought LaVar Ball sounded outrageous when he said his son Lonzo, a freshman point guard at UCLA, is better than Steph Curry, well, you haven't heard anything yet. “Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,’’ said Ball, the 49-year-old basketball dad who is 6-6 and 270 pounds and has a mouth to match his size. The mouth was motoring during a recent interview with USA TODAY Sports while LaVar Ball stood in the kitchen of his home here, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles and heaven only knows how far from reality.
It’s worth noting that Ball played basketball for Washington State during the 1987-88 season and averaged 2.2 points, 2.3 rebounds a game before transferring to Cal-State Los Angeles in search of more playing time. Jordan, meanwhile, averaged 35 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls that same season and is widely regarded as the greatest player in basketball history. “Now in a game of five-on-five, (Jordan) might do some damage, but I’m going to do some damage too,’’ Ball added.
September 21, 2021 | 3:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Free agent guard Quinn Cook is signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Harrison Wind: Monte Morris says he hopes he’s the starting point guard on opening night, but that conversation with Malone about who Denver’s starter is with Jamal Murray out hasn’t happened yet. He said he wants to earn the job in training camp though and not just have it handed to him.
September 21, 2021 | 1:36 pm EDT Update
Complicating matters with that caveat of right now, of course, is the reality that the Sixers also do not appear close to a trade they are willing to go through with that gives Simmons his desired fresh start. More than two months after posting one of my Tuesday newsletter extravaganzas on Substack for the first time on July 13 — also a breakdown, on that occasion, of the latest on the Simmons front — Philadelphia looks no closer to a trade to bring an end to this stalemate.
Weeks of Philadelphia’s Simmons talks with various teams haven’t brought the Sixers to the brink of a deal, largely because Morey is the one faced with trying to get commensurate value for his All-Star and still asking for so much in return in his determination to recoup a trade package that, as one source put it, keeps Philadelphia in title contention. History, however, says that Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations shouldn’t count on getting a glittering package back when a deal finally materializes — his own history.
I reported Monday that the Sixers don’t expect Simmons to show and are resigned to try to keep working behind the scenes to try to convince him to reconsider that stance. After I published that, another source close to the situation told me: “Right now, I don’t see a scenario where Ben is back in Philly.” The source meant it with permanence. As in: Simmons’ career with the Sixers, to the source, is over.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
The Sixers have not lowered the bar on what they’re seeking in a Simmons trade — yet. Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Antonio and Sacramento — all of them, league sources say, have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks. They’re also all bubble playoff teams at best based in markets not known for attracting free agents and surely love the idea of acquiring Simmons when the 25-year-old is locked into three guaranteed seasons on his contract after this one.