LaVar Ball to critical reporter: ‘Stay in your lane… She scares me to death’

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LaVar Ball won.

The Lakers landed the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, seemingly ideally positioning them to pick Lonzo Ball. Lakers president Magic Johnson said LaVar wouldn’t affect how the the Lakers view Lonzo, and they’re reportedly enamored with him. It’s coming together exactly as LaVar willed and Lonzo wanted.

But as LaVar strutted in victory, he dug himself the biggest hole his publicity hunt has landed him in.

First, some background: Kristine Leahy of Fox Sports alleged in March that LaVar “forced” his sons to play basketball and said Lonzo “looks like he’s terrified to go against anything his father says.”

Appearing with Colin Cowherd and Leahy today, LaVar had a few testy exchanges with Leahy about his shoe brand:

  • Ball: “I’ve sold a good amount, to me. Like I said, there’s different amounts.”
  • Leahy: “How many?”
  • Ball: “Stay in your lane. Anyway, on The Herd, like I was telling you.
  • Leahy: “I’m just curious.”
  • Ball: “I don’t even worry about her over there.”
  • Leahy: “Why not? That’s kind of disrespectful.”
  • Ball: “She scares me to death. She said she scares Lonzo – Lonzo’s scared of me. She scares me. That’s why I don’t even look that way. I don’t look over there, because she scares me. I’m thinking of ‘Saw’ right now. Leave me alone. I’ll tell you – four-, five-hundred pair.”
  • 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 Big Baller. I heard you say it. I’m not even worried about it.
  • Leahy: “I didn’t say that. I said that I wouldn’t wear something, as a woman —”
  • Ball: “That says Big Baller. It’s the same thing. 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: “Uh-oh, welcome to Big Baller zone.”
  • Cowherd: “She said ‘baller’ was offensive.
  • Ball: “To her, it is.”
  • Leahy: “No, no, no. I didn’t say it was offensive. I didn’t say it was offensive. I just said that if you wanted to work with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, to maybe have something that appeals to women.”
  • Cowherd: “I thought that was a legitimate — I mean, I don’t have to agree, but I thought that was a pretty good point.”
  • Ball: “I don’t agree with her. It’s a good point because y’all friends. I’m not friends with her. I don’t even see her.
  • Leahy: “I wasn’t even saying it as I would never wear this. I’m saying –”
  • Ball: “What’s this show about again? Ain’t we talking about shoes? I don’t want to talk about that. Next.”
  • Leahy: “Well, I think that 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.”

 

  • Ball: “I’m not even worried about you right now. Keep in your lane.”
  • Leahy: “Can you look me in the eye?”
  • Ball: “I don’t want to look you in the eye. You scare me to death.”
  • Leahy: “Oh, thank you.”
  • Ball: “You’re scaring me right now. I don’t want to look that way.”

 

  • Leahy: “They wouldn’t want to work with you anyway, because you don’t respect women. So.”
  • Cowherd: “She’s after you today.”
  • “Ball: “Oh, I don’t respect women? But I’m the one that’s married. I’m good,” Ball said. “She can say what she want. She’s trying to — I never disrespect women.
  • Leahy: “You did on the show today.
  • Ball: “But I tell you what, if you act like that, guess what? Something’s coming to you. And it’s OK.”
  • Leahy: “Wait, are you threatening me?.
  • Ball: “See how she’s trying to turn the words? I would never threaten you.”
  • Leahy: “You said something’s coming to me.”
  • Ball: “I don’t know what it is. I’m not a psychic.”

Ball is clearly shooting back at Leahy for how she psychoanalyzed his family from afar. One problem: She did it several weeks ago, and not everyone realizes the context of Ball’s comments. So, he’s left sounding misogynistic (and maybe being misogynistic, but absolutely sounding misogynistic).

Ball’s brand is brashness, but does he want that brand to include misogyny? Big Baller Brand’s website has a section of women’s shirts, for what it’s worth.

Ball also snapped at Jason Whitlock, another critic, but one who wasn’t there: “I don’t think he can comment on anything but snacks.”

These comments also have an outside chance of harming Lonzo’s draft stock. Though most NBA executives agreed LaVar won’t affect Lonzo in the draft, professional sports leagues are becoming increasingly conscious of their image on treatment of women. LaVar’s previous public comments have mostly been hyperbolic, but harmless. His digs into Leahy struck a nerve with many.

LaVar – maybe due to justifiable retribution, maybe not; maybe out of misogyny, maybe not; maybe just out of general rudeness, maybe not – created an image problem for himself today. He ought to hope it won’t extend to Lonzo.

Three questions the Detroit Pistons must answer this season

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The NBC/ProBasketballTalk season previews will ask the questions each of the 30 NBA teams must answer to make their season a success. We are looking at one team a day until the start of the season, and it begins with a look back at the team’s offseason moves.

Last Season: 37-45, missed the playoffs following Detroit’s first postseason berth in six years

I know what you did last summer: The Pistons paid the price of Marcus Morris to upgrade from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Avery Bradley, who’s still on a relatively cheap old-TV-money deal for one more season. Detroit also seemingly spent well above market rate (three years, $21 million) for Langston Galloway, who plays the same position as No. 12 pick Luke Kennard. Anthony Tolliver returned after a season with the Kings.

THREE QUESTIONS THE PISTONS MUST ANSWER:

1) Will Reggie Jackson revert to form? Two years ago, Jackson was a solid starting point guard propelling the Pistons on an upward track. He started last season injured then never found his footing.

Jackson wasn’t exactly the Pistons’ problem last year. But he was central to all the Pistons’ problems last year.

He just didn’t attack the rim the same way, which hindered Andre Drummond‘s abilities in the pick-and-roll and Detroit’s other players getting as much space on 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Jackson stuck with the heavy-dribble, high-usage style he had grown accustomed to. Considering he was far less effective while still dominating the ball, that might have contributed to some infighting.

But if the worst thing about Jackson is that he doesn’t know how to adjust when not fully healthy, that doesn’t matter if he’s fully healthy.

2) Will Avery Bradley make the Pistons eager to invest in him long-term? Instead of paying Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this summer, Detroit set itself up to pay Bradley next summer.

This could go a few ways. Bradley could play poorly and not be welcomed back, which would be troubling very soon. But as long as he plays at least moderately well, the Pistons will probably pony up. They’re on track to be capped out even if he leaves in unrestricted free agency, and they’ll also likely want to save face on this summer’s moves as long as it’s feasible.

If Bradley merely meets the lowest expectations Detroit has for him and then re-signs on a lucrative contract, that wouldn’t be so bad. He’d probably be overpaid, but that’d likely be a manageable deal for the Pistons.

If Bradley truly thrives, though, that’d be a boon for Detroit in the short and long terms. In this cap environment, his salary probably wouldn’t climb much higher, and the Pistons would have a really good player.

The 26-year-old Bradley will get his chances. A lockdown perimeter defender, he’s likely in line for an expanded offensive role. This is a great situation for him entering free agency.

3) Will Andre Drummond take the next step? Drummond’s flaws are glaring. He’s an all-time bad free-throw shooter. He posts up far too much with ugly post moves. His effort and focus can wane.

But he’s still darned effective. With elite physical tools and a nose for the ball, Drummond is an elite rebounder. He finishes well in the pick-and-roll, and he can be disruptive defensively.

Despite the complaints of his detractors, Drummond is worth having on the floor. The good outweighs the bad.

That isn’t enough, though. The Pistons have treated him like a franchise player – max contract and a roster built around him. For their season to truly be a success, they need him become a star.

That starts defensively, where Drummond has shown flashes but taken just baby steps overall. If he locks in mentally and plays more energetically on that end more consistently, Detroit would be in far better shape.

Kevin Durant YouTube comment presaged Twitter/Instagram fiasco

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Kevin Durant admitted he went too far on social media, though he didn’t quite admit to the clear revelation: He has additional Twitter and Instagram accounts he used to anonymously fire back at his critics.

Who does that? More specifically, what kind of millionaire NBA-champion superstar does that?

Durant provided a glimpse into his mindset last week, when he replied to this YouTube comment about the insoles of his Finals shoes:

Who cares what people think . Just do you. Someone of stature, shouldn’t worry about stuff like that.

Durant:

of my stature, I play basketball, I got acne, I grew up with nothing, in still figuring myself out in my late 20, I slide in DMs, I make fun of my friends, I drink beers and play Xbox. I’m closer to you than u think

That Durant was interacting in YouTube comments – YouTube comments! – says plenty on its own. That’s the cesspool of internet commenting.

But the content of the reply is also illuminating. Durant is insecure. I think that’s pretty clear at this point.

There will always be people who accept nothing less than the ruthlessness of Michael Jordan from NBA stars. But maybe, once this scandal passes, some will find Durant’s vulnerability endearing.

Steve Kerr: Warriors haven’t been invited to White House, to meet on plan

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Steve Kerr reportedly stated a plan for the NBA-champion Warriors to decline an invitation to visit President Donald Trump’s White House. Then, Kerr espoused the virtues of going.

Kerr, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

“We will meet as a team to discuss it and make a decision,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told ESPN.

“The league isn’t going to tell us what to do. They know it’s our decision and that, for me, really, it’s the players’ decision.

As yet, Kerr confirmed that no such invitation has been extended by the Trump administration.

If the Warriors commit to attending, they’d probably get invited. It seems the White House just doesn’t want egg on its face by extending an invitation that could get declined.

Regardless, Golden State almost certainly isn’t going.

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala have publicly stated their opposition. Even if there’s a player in that locker room who wants to go – and I’m not sure there is – who has the clout to stand up to those three? The tone has already been set.

Knicks say they expect Carmelo Anthony to open training camp with them

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Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have picked up steam the last couple days, the talk centered on the Knicks trading him before training camp opens Monday.

They clearly want to move on. He wants to move on – at least if he can join the Rockets. But a Houston deal appears to have dead-ended.

So…

Ian Begley of ESPN:

This is, by far, the most likely outcome.

There’s always a chance Anthony, who holds a no-trade clause, approves a trade to a team outside Houston. The Knicks might be attempting to gain leverage for that scenario. But I’m unconvinced he’s eager to leave the New York market for just anywhere, and that’d still require two teams agreeing to terms. It’s a lot to overcome.

Anthony has remained professional amid the chaos, and I expect he’ll remain so. Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Anthony would still hold a major role on the court, even if the focus is long-term (the reason Mills gave for omitting Anthony from his offseason write-up).

It’s not ideal to have a highly paid 33-year-old who can still contribute at a high level on a rebuilding team, but that’s where Anthony and New York are – and probably will be next week.