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LaMelo Ball is going back to high school and it’s already too lit

LaMelo Ball is going back to high school. After playing in Lithuania, where he played professionally for the BC Vytautas and the Junior Basketball Association, an amateur league started by his father, LaVar, LaMelo is set to enroll at SPIRE Academy, a specialized performance training and academic facility of 45 students in Geneva, Ohio.

Unlike most back to school stories on the silver screen, LaMelo isn’t returning for closure from some social catastrophe; he wasn’t too dumb to finish or is in search of some life lesson he missed. LaMelo is back for one reason and one reason only — and that’s to get his diploma and win a national championship.

Being a Ball brother and a part of the Big Baller Brand machine, it’s easy to forget that he is still 17-years-old. For one, Lavar Ball — who is his dad, BBB CEO and former coach — doesn’t help by constantly making headlines; the BBB merchandise is priced notoriously high and they have the youngest athlete with a signature shoe ever. It’s hard to hide under the spotlight of the Triple B’s.

But when you take a step back away from the headlines you realize that this is a game and at the end of the day you want these students to enjoy their lives. Last year when LaMelo Ball initially decided to forgo his junior and senior year of high school to train for UCLA, and the world was shocked.

How could a 15-year-old boy be taken away from what school? He’s still a kid. Is he making the decision on his own or is he being influenced? Is this right?

LaVar Ball has long been vocal about all three of his boys playing for both the UCLA and the Lakers so, naturally, people felt he was living out his dream through his kids when really wanted the best possible opportunity for his children’s talent. LaVar even told the Los Angeles Times last year,

“I’m going to make him [LaMelo] the best basketball player ever”

One year later, however, it seems that the course has changed.

Because he was not paid for any of his stints professionally he is still eligible to play his senior year in high school and one has to think that was the plan all along. However, despite his massive following and eye-popping highlights, it is a wonder what kind of high school player he’ll be. Is he, as LaVar says, the greatest show in high school basketball?

In the 2016-17 high school season at Chino Hills High in California, he averaged 27.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 9.6 assists. He scored 92 points in one game, but his team scored 146 and but by the second half he wasn’t running back on defense when the other team had the ball.

When he plays against older and more mature players, as he did in Lithuania, his game struggled. He averaged 6.5 points-per-game average while also averaging 2.4 assists overseas. But when he played for in his dad’s league in the JBA, his stats soared again: 40 points per game in 11 outings, while averaging 13.8 rebounds and 11.0 assists. He even had nearly four steals per game.

While his game can be a bit unpredictable, what’s clear is that the 6’3 160-pound guard has talent; which may be why his dad elected to put him against the nation’s top players.

SPIRE faces a host of top prep school teams, including La Lumiere School in Indiana, Prolific Prep of Napa, California, and Oak Hill Academy of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

Whether he plateaus against the other NBA-type talent or blossoms like he did when he was at Chino and the JBA is still to be determined but I doubt there will be much of an in-between. That is if the internet will let him have an in-between, anyway.

All we can do is sit back at wait to see.

LaVar Ball is no Kardashian: What the NBA has wrong about the BBB CEO

LaVar Ball is no Kardashian.

The comparison, made by Golden State Warrior head coach Steve Kerr, came on the heels of the NBA’s reaction to a LaVar Ball interview with Jeff Goodman where he accused Lakers head coach, Luke Walton, of not having control of the team anymore.

Being that Walton is a former assistant on the Warriors staff and someone Kerr considers friend, he decided to stand up for his pal but ended up throwing LaVar Ball under the bus in the process.

“Somewhere, I guess in Lithuania, LaVar Ball is laughing at all of us. People are eating out of his hands for no apparent reason, other than he’s become like the Kardashian of the NBA or something.”

The issue is that LaVar Ball is nothing like a Kardashian. While both attract headlines, cameras, and have built a brand around their family, LaVar is everything but negative, which is what that other family lives off of.

From Kim Kardashian releasing a sex tape, Kendall Jenner’s abysmal Pepsi ad to the family’s fixation on the superficial, saying LaVar or his family resembles the Kardashians is nothing short of disrespectful.

Kerr was one of many who took overt offense for ESPN giving LaVar Ball a platform. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, went as far as to call the ESPN article “a disgrace” and LaVar Ball’s comments an “ignorant distraction.”

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wasn’t too happy either.

On Monday, Van Gundy threatened to not do pre-game meeting or in-game interviews with ESPN during the network’s broadcast of a Pistons game on January 19th. saying their decision to give Ball a platform was “cheap (expletive)” and “a cheap shot” and said they “showed total disrespect.” He said “I got a problem with ESPN deciding that’s a story.”

Kerr, Carlisle, and Van Gundy all are right in that the media has been voracious in their coverage of the Balls, but the sensationalism of click bait is as old as the profession itself.

Tim Tebow received as much, if not more, annoying coverage for months on end at alarming rates! To the point where then ESPN President John Skipper admitted that he told producers to scale back their coverage.

During an interview with John Ourand of in 2012, Skipper said of Tebow, “we didn’t handle this very well.” According to Skipper, while Tebow is still a short-term ratings boost, he is worried about the long-term effects of getting “over excited about one story and hyping it.”

While Tebow’s Dad did not make a controversial statement about his coach, it shows that ESPN is consistent with how it handles trending topics.

LaVar Ball may not make the best shoe — Big Baller Brand recently received an “F” from the Better Business Bureau — he may not communicate the best way, and he probably is over the top, but discrediting him as a distraction because the media can’t get enough of him is unfair, especially over an opinion that analysts will say live on air.

LaVar is only going to go away when the news stops making him news, and as much as they hate to admit it, that isn’t happening anytime soon.

Just ask the 100K people watching some teenagers play basketball in Lithuania on Facebook right now.

6 things we learned about the Ball family from watching their new show

It seems like ever since Lonzo Ball’s monster alley-oop slam against Pacific while playing for UCLA last year, he and his family have not been able to escape the public’s eye. They also show no signs of trying to avoid it.

Lonzo’s stellar play at UCLA catapulted him onto the basketball world’s radar but it’s his father LaVar Ball, his attachment who we’d all learn is part of a joint inseparable package, who caught the attention of the world.

Whether you like to admit it or not, LaVar has managed to crack that unique algorithm where you give people no choice but to check in on you, to have an opinion on you,

You know, the same thing the Kardashians of the world have managed to perfect.

Love them or hate them, they win because people care. And LaVar seems to have gotten this formula down to a science.

Be it his bold proclamations like beating Michael Jordan one-on-one or firmly touting that his son Lonzo was better than two-time MVP and NBA champion Steph Curry, LaVar became must-see TV, booking shows on all major sports networks.

And his reception has been pretty much down the middle. His critics say that he’s overbearing, an opportunist living his dreams out through his sons, and talks too much. His supporters say he’s a black father that’s been a positive and consistent figure in his son’s life, an entrepreneur, and visionary.

Well, after partnering with Facebook to bring his own documentary series Ball In The Family to life, people will have an opportunity to challenge their preconceived notions by taking an inside look at the Ball family’s life outside the scope of framed interviews.

You’d be surprised at what you learn about the Balls and even may change your opinion on them. Here are 6 takeaways of mine.

Lavar cooks breakfast for his family every morning

I don’t know how you grew up but I rarely had breakfast cooked for me every morning as a kid, and the few times it happened it sure wasn’t my dad.

So, to see LaVar dedicated enough to give his sons and wife a warm nourishing meal every morning is dope to me.

Lonzo can spit bars… a little

Hip-hop and basketball are kindred spirits who were probably twins in a past life and Lonzo’s love of spitting bars is just the next generation taking on that torch.

He did the #SoFarGone challenge which was decent and he even dropped a single accompanied with a music video for his signature shoe titled “Z02.”

But on the show, he calls it “a hobby” more than a career. You get to see on the show just how decent he is.

Lonzo is also very wifed up

Being that the 19-year-old will be playing amongst grown men who go on the road to major cities with pretty women everywhere, it’s pretty interesting that Lonzo is with longtime girlfriend Denise and displays their relationship on the show.

Everyone has heard about the road life of athletes, in any professional sport, so people are going to be rooting for and expecting him to slip up, simply for their own entertainment.

It’s going to be interesting to see how he handles the pressures of the game and his personal life off the court.

LaVar employs positive reinforcements to teach his sons

On the third episode of Ball In The Family Lavar takes his sons to the Ferarri store to buy his second oldest son LiAngelo Ball a car before sending him off to play as a freshman at UCLA.

He says,

“I give them these gifts on the fact that I believe they deserve them. It’s just about hard work. All they want to do is work on they game, playing basketball. And that’s all they trying to do — be the best players in the world.”

Making his children feel like winners and like they’re big-time may be a cause for concern for some. Many believe those things must be earned.

But LaVar believes that telling his sons they’re worth it only makes them feel that way when they step on the court.

LaVar is his wife’s caretaker

In the opening episode, you learn that Lavar’s wife Tina suffered a serious stroke in February that kept her in the hospital for two-and-a-half months and cost her the ability to speak.

Instead of hiring a physical therapist, Lavar decided to designate himself as her primary caretaker. He insists that the familiarity of being around people she knows and loves will help her recover far faster than being with a stranger. You have to admire his heart.

LiAngelo misses home

Lavar’s second son LiAngelo Ball is quite the baller himself. The 6’5″ forward made the UCLA squad this summer, making his transition out of the nest no-brainer show material.

While it’s quite natural for an 18-year-old to be missing his father, mother, and little brother, there is a moment in episode 6 when he’s speaking on their absence in his new life with his girlfriend that humanized both him and the Balls in a way I hadn’t appreciated before.

He says in episode 6,

“College is a big adjustment, I just wish I could do more stuff with my family. You never really know how much you miss them ’till they’re actually gone.”

You see, there are people out there like Kristine Leahy who try and denigrate Ball and his name by perpetuating false narratives. One in particular that Leahy suggested, is that LaVar has some threatening control over his sons.

Here she is at 1:20 mark:

This then created the infamous “stay in yo’ lane” response from Lavar that eventually became a signature t-shirt line for his Big Baller Brand line.

LiAngelo didn’t sound like someone who was afraid of his dad, he sounded like someone who loved him immensely.

Say what you want about LaVar, Lonzo, or even their crazy lil bro Melo, but why don’t you get to know them a little bit before you do?

Big Baller Brand remixes the ZO2 Primes and they’re actually tough

The Baller family continues to ooze nothing but excellence.

After selling $290,000 in pre-orders, Lonzo Ball’s signature sneakers the “ZO2 Primes” prove the Big Baller Brand is only growing. The controversy surrounding the $495 sneaker’s high price is no more, especially after the brand’s recent announcement.

The BBB announced some modifications to the ZO2s that will in turn make it the lightest basketball shoe ever. The “Remix ZO2 Primes” will have better ankle support and will do away with the patent leather. These changes definitely will make the sneaker lighter and more of a true basketball-ready shoe.

For those who already pre-ordered the ZO2s before the remix, you’ll get the updated version instead, for no extra cost. If for some reason you don’t want the better version of the sneaker you can always get a refund and pay a bill or something.

The possibility of refunds isn’t worrying BBB CEO Lavar Ball. He told ESPN, “What happens if you ordered a 2017 diesel and I came out and told you, sight unseen, that I was giving you a 2018 Bugatti for the same price, you wouldn’t ask for a refund.”

In the reveal video for the sneaker, Lonzo is hooping around showing off his new sneaker. While head to toe in BBB clothes it’s only right that the background music is Lonzo’s own track.

Lonzo high-key got bars and a sick ass flow and I’m not sure how to take that. Lines like “Only one year I was done with the Bruins, slaving for free I was offered a movement” got me thinking he might dethrone Dame D.O.L.L.A. (Damian Lillard) as the best rapper in the NBA.

This isn’t the first time he’s blessed a track either, also doing the soundtrack for his brother’s signature sneaker.

Although the sneakers are pricey I can’t hate on what Lavar Ball is doing with his family. Starting a brand from the ground up and keeping almost everything internal, Ball is building a legacy.

The shoes are BIG BALLER, the clothes are BIG BALLER, the music is BIG BALLER!

If you got the bread or wanna skip a meal or 6 go pre-order some Remix ZO2 Primes set to release this November. 

Lonzo Ball ditches BBB shoes for Nike, has best game of Summer League

LeBron James skipped out on the ESPY’s Awards Wednesday night, instead flying to Las Vegas to watch Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball in the NBA Summer League.

The King was treated to a show as Lonzo had his best game in a Lakers uniform to date, recording 36 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds.

Maybe LeBron, who will be a free agent at the end of this season, wanted to get a close look at Lonzo in case he decides to head to the City of Angels next summer.

LeBron tweeted and posted a video on Instagram of Lonzo wearing Nike Kobe A.D.’s with the caption “Just.Do.It.”

This was the first game of the summer that Lonzo sported anything besides his signature Big Baller Brand Zo2 sneaker and the results didn’t lie.

Following the game Lonzo told SportsCenter:

“At BBB, you can play in what you want. I already played in both of my shoes, might as well get the ‘Mamba Mentality’ going. Put ’em on, and it worked out tonight.”

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons made an interesting point about the BBB sneakers on his podcast earlier this week.

He pointed to the litany of injuries Grant Hill sustained which hindered his career and attributed it in part to the sneakers he was wearing during games.

In 2001 after Hill sustained another severe ankle injury, Charles Barkley said,

“When you’re wearing cheap shoes, and you don’t wear Nike, it’s going to happen. They gave him all that money to wear those cheap FILAs.”

It will be interesting to see if Lonzo goes back to wearing the BBB sneakers during the season or if Lakers executives step in and demand he wears Nike or Adidas, two brands that customize sneakers for an athlete’s foot. But as of now, there are no negotiations with Nike, according to Lonzo’s father, LaVar.

“Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it’s OK with the NBA,” LaVar Ball told ESPN Thursday morning. “This is what being independent is all about.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton and GM Magic Johnson might need to sit down with the Ball family and explain the ramifications of wearing poorly made sneakers.

It isn’t worth the risk.