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.
“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?