Friday, May 12, 2017


One can never be certain if the public persona generated by assorted media reports accurately reflects the person.

We can actually say this about people who have no media presence as well, to some extent. When we think about work colleagues or anybody with whom we have only sporadic interaction, we can't be sure we know these people well enough to really know them..  Their individual personae is what we construct on the basis of superficial encounters--and these notions may be way off.  You might be able to make the case that even in some intimate relationships, partners engage on the basis of perceived or projected images of the other--which can be unrelated to who the persons actually may be.

With that as a disclaimer, let me make some comments about the way I see LaVar Ball, emphasizing that the way I see him has been constructed from media exposure and nothing else.

LaVar Ball is an irresponsible and inconsiderate parent.  He is hurting and not helping his son.  Finally he is incredibly foolish in his assessment of basketball talent.

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Ball, he is the father of Lonzo Ball, a college basketball player who played for UCLA during his freshman year. Lonzo Ball has decided to skip the remaining three years of college eligibility and begin to play professionally.  His dad is, outrageously, promoting his son.  Mr. Ball has said that Lonzo is better than Michael Jordan and needs to seek no council from Kobe Bryant.  He also made the comment that there was no way UCLA would be able to be successful in the NCAA tournament because there were too many white players on the team. (This is a particularly strange comment given that his son is biracial).

Let's start with this.  Please remember this.  I am promising you this.  Lonzo Ball will not be a change maker in the pros. He is very good, but so is every player in the NBA.  Lonzo Ball will not be that good. If you are an NBA executive and are looking for someone who can catapult your team into a championship contender, don't sell the farm for Lonzo Ball.  Lonzo is a kid. He is 6' 6" and 190 pounds.  Just for comparison, Jae Crowder on the Celtics is 6 6 and 235 pounds and not the Pillsbury Doughboy. Lonzo Ball is going to get bounced around like a pin ball when he drives to the basket. He has great court vision, but he is nothing extraordinary in terms of shooting or passing.  Claiming that Lonzo Ball is better than Michael Jordan is just beyond belief.  Jordan is probably collecting social security now and could defeat Ball in a one on one game ten times out of ten.

Even if I am wrong about his talent, what kind of father puts pressure on his son, like LaVar Ball is putting on Lonzo.  You compare him to Michael Jordan, say he is good enough so that he does not have to listen to Kobe Bryant.  What if Lonzo, as I predict, looks outclassed when he comes to the pros.  Let's say Lonzo is better than I think he is, but gets off to a slow start, how will the enormous pressure his father has put on him, affect his basketball potential?

LaVar Ball played in college and also played professional (American) football in Europe.  He was not a special player in either sport.  It seems to me that his antics regarding his son reflect an attempt to obtain the attention he did not secure as a professional athlete.  His behavior is remarkably short sighted and unfair to his offspring.  Mr. Ball has become a cartoon character. If he wants to land in the funny papers as a caricature nobody can stop him, but he has the responsibility not to drag his kid down with him.

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