Please, Someone Deflate LaVar Ball!
What is Wrong With LaVar Ball?
I love sports. I love the competitiveness, I love the way players lay it all on the line. I love the way that no matter what, at the end of the day, even if two teams fight and fists are flying, when the game or series is over, those very same players will go up to each other and express the respect they have for one another.
And then there is LaVar Ball.
What is the deal with this guy? It is one thing to be proud of your son. It is yet another to do the things he does. I recently listened to his interview with Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports One, and it enraged me. No, it wasn’t how he reaffirmed his claim that in their prime, he’d defeat Michael Jordan. You know, the guy from the Bulls with the six championships, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time? Yes, once again LaVar Ball (he of the 2.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists average in 26 games at Washington State according to sports-reference.com) he told Cowherd that he would have beaten MJ because, and I quote “I got enough strength and enough speed to beat him one on one. I’m just gonna back you in and do a jump hook and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Fine. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
I wasn’t even upset when he said that he wanted three billion dollars from any shoe company that wanted to represent his son. You read that correctly. Billion. With a “B”. I wasn’t upset because he’s clearly delusional if he thinks that any company is going to pay that. I’m not upset that he thinks that his son can sell shoes that cost roughly $500. Again, he’s clearly got a ridiculously high opinion of both himself and his son. It didn’t even bother me when he makes all the grandiose claims like how you could put Lonzo on the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry on UCLA and Lonzo would be better. When pressed for a reason, he claimed that Curry can run or jump and Lonzo is taller. Or his infamous boast that Lonzo would have more of an impact on the Lakers than Hall of Famer and five-time NBA champion Magic Johnson. Mind you this was shortly before Lonzo and UCLA were bounced out of the NCAA Tournament by Kentucky.
What began to irritate me was when he talks about “we’re going to the Lakers” or “we’re not working out for anyone other than the Lakers”. His continual use of the word “we” as if he somehow was going to be playing alongside his son, as if it was his talent and not Lonzo’s talent that was going to be on display and his own talent that was bringing about all this good fortune and opportunities, and not Lonzo’s. He’s setting Lonzo up to be the greatest thing ever, but Lonzo hasn’t done anything of note yet. Does he really believe all these things about his son? I’m doubtful because I believe that’s the reason he keeps asking for insane amounts of money. Endorsement deals with up-front money are great for a player who has already established themselves, but for an untested kid who shrank on the biggest stage of his career so far? And if Lonzo is the athlete, why is he rarely, if ever, present when pertinent questions about his future are being asked? Why is it that LaVar Ball gets all the interviews? Can Lonzo not speak for himself? Will LaVar be there?
What’s wrong with LaVar Ball?
But the thing that pushed me over the edge, the thing that moved him from “mildly annoying nuisance who keeps getting undeserved media attention” (and believe me, I’m aware of the irony of decrying the media attention being given to Ball while simultaneously penning an article decrying him) to “genuinely reprehensible human” was the way he responded to questions by Cowherd’s co-host Kristine Leahy. Ball boasted about selling “a good amount” of Lonzo’s signature shoe. Leahy asked, “How many?” Now bear in mind, this set is arranged in a very curious way. There is a half-moon shaped couch in the middle of two desks; one for Cowherd and one for Leahy. The couch does not face either desk, but Cowherd and Leahy face each other.
Ball: I’ve sold a good amount, to me. Like I said, there’s different amounts.
Leahy: How many?
(At this point there is literally two seconds of silence, and LaVar absolutely refuses to even turn his head enough to acknowledge her presence).
Ball: Stay in your lane. Anyway, Colin, like I was telling you…
Leahy: I’m just curious.
Ball: I don’t even worry about her over there.
Leahy: Why not? I think that’s kind of disrespectful.
Ball: I don’t look over there because she scare me. She scares me to death. She scares Lonzo. Lonzo is scared of me. She scares me, that’s why I don’t look that way.
Leahy: I said I’m scared of Lonzo?
Ball: I don’t look over there because she scares me. I’m thinking assault right now.
Leahy: I’m just trying…
Ball: Leave me alone. I will tell you (emphasis on “you”, meaning Cowherd, because he’s still refused to acknowledge Leahy) Four or five hundred pairs.
Cowherd: She’s a reporter. Her job is to probe.
Ball: She can report to whoever she want behind her. I’m talking to you, Colin.
Leahy: What is your problem with me?
Ball: My problem is you are a hater. ‘I would never wear a Big Baller shirt.’ Well, good, don’t even talk to me. (Again, Ball is staring at Cowherd, making a mocking voice, presumably imitating Leahy.)
Leahy: No, I didn’t say that.
Ball: I heard you say it. I’m not even worried about it.
Leahy:I said that I wouldn’t wear something…
Ball: That says Big Baller. It’s the same thing.
Ball: With all due respect, you’re a great reporter, just not reporting on me.
Leahy:: I have a right to say what shirt I would and wouldn’t wear…
Ball: You have a right? Uh oh, welcome to Big Baller zone.
Cowherd: She said Baller was offensive.
Leahy: No, I actually was saying it as a point…No, no, no, I didn’t say it was offensive. I didn’t say it was offensive. I just said if you want to work with Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour to maybe have something that appeals to women.
Cowherd: That was a legitimate…I don’t have to agree, but I thought that was a pretty good point. I thought it was a good point.
Ball:It’s a good point because y’all friends.
Leahy: I’m actually saying it as a point of advice.
Ball: I’m not friends with her. I don’t even see her. (Again, refusing to turn in her direction)
Leahy:I wasn’t saying it as like I would never wear this…
Ball: What’s this show about again? Ain’t we talking about shoes? I don’t want to talk about all that. Next!
Leahy: I think in order to have a successful company, you’re going to have to have women who like your brand.
Ball: Uh, yeah, if you have a women’s company. But anyways…
Leahy: Oh. So you’re not marketing to women?
Ball:We’re talking about Big Baller Brand.
LaVar Ball was beyond disrespectful. He was rude. It was unbelievable. But I guess I shouldn’t have been totally surprised because that’s exactly how he’s presented himself to the public. He’s a larger than life personality who has an overinflated ego. He talks about Lonzo’s accomplishments as if they’re his own, which I really just cannot wrap my head around. The worst part of the interview, however, was when Ball threatened Leahy. Leahy said that the major apparel companies like Nike and Adidas wouldn’t want to work with him because he doesn’t respect women. Ball seemed to take particular exception to that, responding as follows:
Ball: If you act like that, guess what? Something’s comin’ to ya. And it’s okay.
Leahy: Wait, are you threatening me?
Ball: Oh, see how she tried to turn the words? (With a wide smile on his face and still refusing to look at her or even turn his head towards her, as has been his behavior for the entirety of the interview). I would never threaten you.
Leahy: But you just said something was coming to me.
Ball: I don’t know what it is. I’m not a psychic.
He interrupts her, refuses to even look at her, insults her by mocking her, threatens her and is just disrespectful overall. Should we be surprised by this though? He seems to feel that anytime anyone questions his son’s talents or abilities that the person is a “hater” who then is fair game to receive personal insults. This is exemplified in the face that after Jason Whitlock was critical of Lonzo, LaVar said that “Jason Whitlock can’t comment on anything but snacks”, referring to Whitlock’s weight, then criticized the fact that Whitlock’s kids weren’t in the same position as Lonzo.
Perhaps most galling about this whole interview was the fact that at no point does Colin Cowherd (pronounced quite appropriately as “Coward”) stand up for his co-host. I’m not saying that Leahy needed Cowherd to come to her rescue, but maybe he could have said something akin to “Hey, this is my co-host, a professional, and unless you speak to her with the same respect you show me, this interview is over.” But no. He continues to ask softball questions and not really push back against the insane claims that LaVar was making. When he says that LaVar’s request for three billion dollars is unrealistic, Ball retorts “Unrealistic to you!” and declines to ask a follow-up question such as “Why do you think your son, not you, but your son – remember he’s the one who is the one with the talent- is worth three billion dollars?” But that question never came. There was a half-hearted attempt to understand Ball’s mindset when he first went after Leahy, but there was no passion in his voice. He was meek, soft-spoken and seemed afraid to anger LaVar Ball, despite the fact that this man is not his boss, not a prominent athlete, or anyone special who might merit the treatment he receives. And it wasn’t as if Leahy was being disrespectful to him. In fact, she was the only class in that act.
What is it about LaVar Ball that makes sports reporters want to talk about him? There are no redeeming qualities that I’ve seen in any interview he’s done. Nothing about his quotes makes me think he’s intelligent or clever. Maybe he’s a marketing genius, but maybe he just lucked into things. I just don’t understand how he’s gotten to the point that I need to write an article because I’m so angry that I’ve got to spend one second of my life researching this clown. I’m upset that I have to listen to him over and over and over, making sure I’m getting the quotes right, watching his body language and how he’s responding to a simple question as if it’s a physical attack.
In closing, I have a few more questions that I hope sports shows around the country will ask themselves, even if they never read my words. If Lonzo is the athlete, why is he rarely, if ever, present when pertinent questions about his future are being asked? Why is it that LaVar Ball gets all the interviews? Can Lonzo not speak for himself? Will LaVar be there after games standing in front of Lonzo’s locker facing reporters? Will he be speaking on behalf of his son after a tough loss? These are the things that need to be taken into consideration the next time someone thinks it’s a good idea to book LaVar Ball on their podcast or television program or radio show. Who gives a damn what this rude, disrespectful sexist thinks? Why does he matter at all? He’s not going to be on the court. I’m not one to root for someone to fail, but this oversaturation of LaVar Ball is making me think that the only way for him to go away is for all three of his sons to fail miserably in their careers. As a sports fan, I just don’t want to see that. So please, let this be an example of why he needs to go away; not be seen, not be heard. My suggestion? Show him the same respect he showed for Kristine Leahy and not even turn out heads in his direction.https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/please-someone-deflate-lavar-ball/https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/lavar-ball-kristine-leahy-herd-interview.png?fit=1024%2C570&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/lavar-ball-kristine-leahy-herd-interview.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1EntertainmentLA LakersNBAPacific DivisionRecent PostsTV ShowsColin Cowherd,FS1,Kristine Leahy,LaVar Ball,Lonzo BallWhat is Wrong With LaVar Ball? I love sports. I love the competitiveness, I love the way players lay it all on the line. I love the way that no matter what, at the end of the day, even if two teams fight and fists are flying, when the game...Patrick RahallPatrick Rahallpjwrahall@gmail.comContributorMyFantasySportsTalk