Known for his fiery demeanor on the court – and occasionally off the court – during his playing days, Matt Barnes has become one of the more level-headed but free-speaking commentators on both the NBA and the game of basketball. On a recent episode of Speak For Yourself, Barnes and a group of panelists spoke on LaVar Ball’s recent comments suggesting LaMelo would be playing next season in a professional league in either China or Australia.
While the rest of the panelists largely took jabs or made unsubstantiated claims, Barnes offered a well-thought-out response that called into question LaVar’s decision-making with regards to his kids and his business practices.
I love the whole….the fact that he’s in their lives. A black father in their lives. But that’s where it stops for me because I think he completely ruined, or on the way to ruining…Melo is very talented. His dad robbed him of his high school experience. So, instead of winning a state championship a couple weeks ago and playing in the McDonald’s (All-American) game last week, he’s playing over in Lithuania and this b.s. (JBA) league.
To me, LaVar is very selfish. I think, because he wasn’t an athlete and he missed his window, he’s living vicariously through his kids…I think they had a great idea with the brand overall but as soon as they came out with the price points, the whole thing started going downhill from there. You had a chance to capture a unique audience with a reasonable price point and they could have killed that market. But they put the price point too high and after that move, everything’s been downhill since.
As a father of three sons, I hate the way he moves with his kids because it’s more about him than it is about the boys and that’s unfortunate.
Barnes raises a lot of interesting talking points in the piece. He commends the idea of Big Baller Brand but, like many, once the price points were revealed and the true focus of the company was known, it made it much harder to back the triple B’s.
The more pressing point he raised, though, is LaVar’s handling of LaMelo. The most recent decision by LaVar is the latest in a series of puzzling moves, starting with the decision to take LaMelo out of high school and compounded by the moves to different leagues since.
There is a question to be asked if LaVar is living vicariously through his youngest son. The decision to go pro at such a young age never made sense and each ensuing move has made less and less sense. It feels more and more like the moves of a man trying to squeeze the last few drops of control over his son before he follows the recent lead of Lonzo’s and starts making decisions for himself.