Is LaVar Ball A Bad Sports Parent? – Forbes

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, right, shakes hands with his father LaVar following an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 77-68. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

There have been a lot of famous and infamous sports parents, but I can’t remember anyone quite like LaVar Ball of Chino Hills, Calif. His ambitions for his three sons are not only to become NBA stars, but also to be established brands by the time they turned pro.

So far, the plan is working. One son, Lonzo, is a freshman at UCLA and expected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Middle son LiAngelo, a high school senior, has committed to play at the same school next year, and youngest son LaMelo, a sophomore who also has committed to UCLA, is on his way to stardom — you might have heard about his recent 92-point game.

As tales of his son’s basketball exploits bounce all over the Internet, LaVar is already exploiting their fame through his Big Baller Brand¬†(“inspired by” his sons, thus allowing it to escape NCAA scrutiny), and reality-show like videos such as “Christmas Day with the Ball Brothers.” (Oh, and there also will be a Ball Brothers segment, called “Ball or Fall,” on the March 12 ESPN SportsCenter.)

If LaVar Ball has his way, this will top the popularity of the Star Wars Holiday Special.

If I needed more evidence of LaVar Ball and his sons’ omniscience, I found it at home. My 14-year-old son doesn’t share excitement over Dwyane Wade, the local pro star with the Bulls that our Chicago-area high school produced. He tells me about Chino Hills High and his favorite Ball brother, LiAngelo. (That is, when he’s not talking about his favorite NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, and how he really, really hopes they will take Lonzo Ball in next year’s draft.)


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