Now that LaVar Ball has found his way into the headlines, one gets the sense he might never leave.
The controversial and outspoken father of Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, the Chino Hills triumvirate which led the school to a USA TODAY Super 25 national title in 2015-16, recently sat down for an interview with Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard for the latter’s podcast. In the interview, Ball was asked about the pressure that comes to sons of former great players. He used the question as a soapbox to claim that LeBron James’ sons essentially don’t stand much of a chance to emerge as basketball stars.
As noted by 247 Sports, here’s the full context of the elder Ball’s quote:
Here’s the thing, you gotta play the odds and the percentages,” said Ball. “There’s been a lot of great players, and all of their sons are whack.”
“Kareem’s got sons, Jordan’s got sons, Shaq’s got sons.”
— “His son is pretty good too,” said Broussard.
“His son is alright,” Ball quickly interjected. “…the monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn’t that good. They were OK, they was players, but the fact that the old Curry wasn’t no All-Star, he wasn’t cold. He could shoot the ball though. Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that, that’s why he’s such a monster.”
You got LeBron, it’s gonna be so hard for his kids, cause they gonna look at them like ‘you gotta be just like your dad.’ And after a while that pressure starts sitting on you like ‘why do I gotta be like him, why can’t I just be me?’ And then they’re gonna be like ‘aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
My sons are good, they’re great,” Ball said. “But let’s say I really excelled in football and made millions of millions of dollars. Do I spent that time with them now? — No, I have to worry about the offseason and I just buy you a trainer and hope that you turn out okay. Whereas the fact that I wasn’t all that, allows me to take the time to make my boys all that.”
It’s not as if Ball was offering up a 10-minute attack on LeBron James Jr., but he was doubting whether Bronnie (as he’s called) would be able to play up to his potential and the rather significant shadow cast by his own father. Ball is fairly qualified to call that into question now that he has now produced a stable of near-certain future professional basketball players.
Still, to call out as a failure a kid who has yet to set foot in high school, but has shown an otherworldly amount of talent on the court already is pretty harsh.
Of course, nothing the Ball patriarch has done so far has been understated, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Something tells us LeBron James Sr. isn’t.