After a blissful break of a few months, the incendiary LaVar Ball was back in the headlines this week, saying his middle son LiAngelo Ball was declaring for the NBA Draft. That led to some easy jokes about how “insert anyone’s name here” should declare for the draft (I made a few myself), and it brought up LaVar’s comment earlier in the season that the Lakers will bring all of his three children together or Lonzo Ball will leave the team. Meanwhile, the Ball family Facebook show keeps rolling along.
The NBA media is largely done with the LaVar circus (but it draws traffic, so here we are). The Lakers are no fans of the circus, feeling they have bent over backwards for LaVar and all he’s done is call out Luke Walton. Teams are not going to draft LiAngelo, he will go to a pre-draft camp and maybe he can get a Summer League invite at best, trying to earn his way to a deal. The buzz around LaVar has worn off.
A group that is not bothered by LaVar’s public persona? NBA players. They by and large shrug.
That pretty much echoes what former NBA player and current Wizards coach Scott Brooks said earlier in the season.
“I was the youngest of seven, and my dad left when I was 2, and my mom raised all of us on her own,” Brooks said. “You’re growing up in that situation, you have some anger, you have some sadness, but you have to figure out a way through it… (Lonzo Ball) has a father and a mother that supports him.
“To me, I think everybody is missing the boat. Does he say some crazy things? Ya. Does he really believe he can beat Michael Jordan in a 1-on-1? No. But I can guarantee that over dinner his sons are killing him for saying things like that, and they’re having fun. To me, laughter is an important part of life. I think they get it. I think they probably laugh a lot, and a lot of the time they are laughing at us.”
Maybe fans and media all over think this a little. I say this as a father: Nobody is as good at tuning out their parents crap as their children. Lonzo is mostly unphased by his dad. LaVar is not a big topic in the Lakers’ locker room, in fact he rarely comes up if you ask about it. LaVar’s ranting makes headlines and is a pain for the Lakers’ organization at times, but the players (and Luke Walton) largely shrug and move on. They don’t care. They’ve seen these dads before.
That doesn’t mean Durant is buying a pair of ZO2s. He’s just telling us what players think about LaVar, which can be very different from most of us.