LaVar Ball: Great Dad or Overbearing Figure for his kids?


Lonzo’s Father, LaVar Ball.

Zach Markey, Sports Writer and Editor

Star UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball saw his season with the Bruins end March 24 when they lost their NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 matchup against the Kentucky Wildcats. In his likely last game with UCLA, Lonzo had a dismal 10 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds for his standard. Ball had been averaging over 14 points coming into the game, and just seemed off the entire night. The point guard even admitted to his faulty performance March 28 on ESPN’s popular show, SportsNation.

“I had a bad game, you know, we got outplayed,” Ball said. “You can put the loss on my back, I’ll take it.”

Lonzo was extremely humble and liked put the team first throughout his freshman year of stardom at UCLA. However his father, LaVar Ball, may be the complete opposite.

“No, I’m not embarrassed,” Lonzo said when asked about his dad. “I know how he’s going to act. I just go out there play. Let him be him.”

Lonzo Ball in the 2016 McDonald’s All-American Game.

LaVar Ball has been criticized and condemned on many things he has said about his three sons the past couple months. However, most of his comments are centered around his oldest, Lonzo. The boldest statement might be the claim that his 19 year-old son is a better basketball player than NBA superstar and 2016 NBA MVP, Stephen Curry.

The whole Ball family is interesting to say the least. In fact, there have been rumors circulating the past few days about a reality TV show following the family. They reside in Chino Hills, a city near Los Angeles, and are led by the outspoken Lavar, and his wife, Tina. They have three boys, Lonzo (19) LiAngelo (18) and LaMelo (15). LiAngelo and LaMelo both play basketball for Chino Hills High School and are already committed to UCLA. At only 15 years old, LaMelo scored a whopping 92 points in a single varsity game February 7.

The pressure from LaVar on his sons is quite obvious, and it has sparked major attention from sports media. And there’s a main question that has been asked: Is the pressure from LaVar Ball good or bad for his three boys?

Looking at them right now, you’d probably say the pressure from their dad has been great for the Ball brothers. All three of the boys are obviously basketball studs, however the consensus is that the kids will be negatively impacted by their father in the future, assuming that he will continue to make crazy comments and expose their life to the open world.

Even in TV interviews, LaVar has seemed to be the controlling figure when answering the questions. On a March 29 episode of the popular FS1 talk show, The Herd With Colin Cowherd, Lonzo was interviewed with his dad. He seemed to be very uncomfortable and shy when his father was talking. Even when he was being asked questions of his own, he seemed rigid, and a man of very few words.

The Co-Host of the show, Kristine Leahy, wasn’t afraid to express her true feelings about the interview.

“Whenever you asked him a question, I think he he said what? 5 words?” Leahy said on another popular FS1 show, Speak for Yourself. “And he looks terrified whenever he’s talking.”

Leahy was obviously not impressed with how the interview went, and I can partially agree with what she is saying. When watching the interview, I could also see the fear and nervousness with Lonzo. He did look uneasy, but then again he’s only 19 years old. I know if I was on national TV at that age, I wouldn’t be too comfortable.

Personally, I am not too concerned about Lonzo being negatively impacted by his father. He will most likely be drafted by an NBA team this summer, and will be on his own at only 20 years old. Lonzo will learn to become a man at that level, and he won’t allow his dad to be too involved in his basketball life.

Although, the same cannot be said about LaVar’s other two boys. They will continue to play high school basketball with their dad (and the world) watching their every move. I’m concerned that this pressure could impact the boys, and lead to them not reaching expectations that have already began to be set by Lonzo, thus making them feel like “disappointments” or “failures” in their dad’s eyes.

Forget basketball, this scenario wouldn’t be heathy for LaMelo’s and LiAngelo’s well being. There’s a slim chance that they are actually as good as their superstar brother, Lonzo, which leads me to believe there is a strong possibility of this situation possibly happening.

In conclusion, we will all have to see how the Ball family scenario plays out. There’s no doubt that Lonzo is an NBA-caliber  point guard, however there remains question on the younger side with LaMelo and LiAngelo. They’re only high school student athletes, and a ton can happen in the next couple years with LaVar Ball as your father.