In the latest edition of “Basketball Players’ Dads Being Assholes” (Christ, I hope this doesn’t become a thing), UCLA star freshman Lonzo Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, continues to make headlines for absurd move after absurd move. You of course remember LaVar, he’s the guy who claimed that Lonzo is currently better than Steph Curry. Not that he has higher potential than Steph, but that right now at this moment, Lonzo Ball would contribute more to the Golden State Warriors than Steph Curry. So that’s who we’re dealing with.
LaVar currently runs a company/circus called Big Baller Brand which sells presumably low quality t-shirts covered in that that terrible three “B” logo. The three B’s stand for his three sons, Lonzo Ball, LiAngelo Ball, and LaMelo Ball, who apparently were all brainwashed into supporting this shit show. LaVar’s sole responsibility as the leader of this project? Apparently it is to shamelessly create as much attention for himself and his company as he possibly can to land his sons an insane billion dollar shoe deal. And in order to do this he has taken a page out of the Donald Trump playbook.
Without getting political here, it’s pretty obvious that Trump likes to use outlandish statements to control the news cycle and get us to look where he wants. Russia hacked the election? No, no. Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, so talk about that instead. Feeling insecure about the popular vote margin? I would have won that too if millions of illegal votes weren’t cast. It’s obvious, it’s predictable, and sure enough, we bite. Well, LaVar has decided to take the same approach to marketing his sons. And the sad part is that it’s also working.
The Steph Curry comparison was one of the early moves by LaVar, but since then he has managed to take it even further. Anyone who followed the media cycle last week heard that LaVar thinks he could have taken Michael Jordan in one-on-one. Does LaVar actually believe that? Of course not (if he does, we’ve got a whole different issue to worry about). Does LaVar think that saying that will get him hours and hours of free advertising? You betcha. Anyone remember the countless bonus hours of media attention Trump got during the Republican primaries by spouting ridiculous exaggerations? Same damn thing. Charles Barkley and the media can hate on it all they want, but any time they talk about him, they’re playing right into his hands. And then when the media cools on the Jordan story? Throw in claims that Lonzo is better than Lebron and Russ and you have a full blown bullshit-propelled advertising machine. It’s not a question of whether he’s going to say something else ridiculous. It’s only a matter of when. Sound familiar?
Is LaVar Ball entertaining? Of course. I wouldn’t be writing about him if he wasn’t. But he mastered the same arts that Trump rode to the presidency. Talk enough bullshit and eyes are always on you, pumping free advertising into your shitty brand. Not a day went by last week when ESPN didn’t host a round table discussion about the pros and cons of LaVar’s involvement with UCLA. Sure, it’s amusing to us to watch him make a jackass out of himself week after week. But LaVar Ball is not a clown. He may play one on TV, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. And we are, yet again, being played.