In the Long run: Big ballers, big problems


Michael Long , Sports editor


Basketball season has officially started. It’s really the best time of the year because in addition to basketball starting, my birthday is in three days followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas soon after. Times are great. Or are they?

Being a basketball enthusiast these days is getting tougher and tougher due to certain players and others surrounding the game. Some of these people that pop into my head are the Ball family. Well, most of the Ball family.

The Ball family consists of father LaVar Ball and his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. Lonzo is currently playing his rookie season in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. LiAngelo, the middle brother who everyone seems to forget about, is getting ready to play his first year at UCLA and young LaMelo is just a junior who has recently been pulled out of his high school by his father.

Out of these four, the one who is causing the most disgrace to the sport is LaVar. He has worked his way up the celebrity chain purely by being a cocky idiot. He built his own company around his sons called Big Baller Brand which sells ridiculously over merchandise like $200 sandals, $100 leather hats and he has Lonzo’s signature shoe priced at $495.

When confronted about these prices, LaVar said, “If you can’t afford the ZO2s, (Lonzo’s signature shoe), you’re not a big baller.”

This attitude contributes to the idea that basketball is all about expensive gear and items. It’s not. I see people these days, mainly young kids, acting like being a basketball player is about wearing a certain pair of shoes or being decked out in Nike but it’s not.

Another thing LaVar does that is just ridiculous is quitting. Last summer he forfeited a playoff game (THAT HE WAS WINNING) for his AAU team that he was coaching because he got a technical. He just stood up, gathered his players, and left. LaVar also pulled his youngest son, LaMelo out of school because he didn’t like the school’s new basketball coach.

If you play any sport, then you are aware of how coaches harp not to quit, so to me, the fact that a big name in basketball is quitting because things don’t go his way is disgusting. A real “big baller” would play through it.

Yet another thing LaVar is known for is his cockiness. One of his best displays of his arrogance is when he claimed he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one. He’s been asked many times about it, and he still stands his ground. He’s also said that he and LaMelo could beat Jordan and LeBron James in a game of two-on-two.

Now I get that confidence is very important in sports, but there are just some things that are over the top. Claiming to be able to beat two of the greatest players to ever touch the rock is one of them.

LaVar has all of these issues but he is not the talent of the family. He only played 26 college games and his stat sheet is loaded with ones and twos.

Now let’s discuss LaMelo. Ah, little LaMelo. My problem with LaMelo is with the way he plays. Yes, he’s scored 92 points in one game, but in that game, he shot the ball 61 times, went seven for 22 from downtown and played very, very lazy defense.

This is a playstyle I see all of the time in hoopers, and it drives me insane. Pulling up everytime you touch the ball and then not playing defense is not a productive way to play basketball. It will rarely work well. Basketball is a team sport and nobody can win a game by themselves, but a lot of people these days seem to think that they can.

These qualities that LaVar and LaMelo not only reflect poorly the sport of basketball, but they’re affecting others in the family. Take Lonzo for example. He is such an entertaining player to watch that I almost want to spend $110 on one of the new Nike jerseys, that could tear if the wind catches it wrong. Plus he acts nothing like the other Balls. He’s humble in his interviews you can tell that he just wants to play ball, but because of his last name, there’s a stench surrounding him. Sadly, this stench is also affecting the game of basketball.