Beware the Splinters is Salute Magazine’s new weekly sports column, authored by Sports Editor Dustin Brown. The column will be a weekly look at something that has ruffled the feathers of Mr. Brown, or is just a topic he feels he needs to rant about. This week’s column focuses on LaVar Ball and his new title: Mr. Detrimental.
LaVar Ball has become a new blip on the sports world’s radar because most of us never knew who he was. He had no meaning to many fans until he started spouting off about his son Lonzo, a freshman basketball player at UCLA. Lonzo has since entered his name into the NBA draft field.
While you cannot blame Ball for being outspoken when it comes to his kids–most fathers are–you have to wonder if it is doing more harm than good. Thus, the nickname of Mr. Detrimental, being dubbed by me.
Flashback to the NCAA Tournament, which is when Mr. Ball started making an almost daily appearance in the national spotlight. This is the time when the crazy talk began, and it is not ending anytime soon. Remember the talk about being able to beat Michael Jordan in a one-on-one game? Or that his son is better than Stephen Curry? Or that a billion dollar shoe deal would come calling when Lonzo took his talents to the next level?
Look, I get it. When you average 2.2 points per game in your one year of college basketball at Washington State, by all means, please talk about your family’s basketball genes. This is not an attack on his kids, in fact, I feel bad for them. Their father has created an impossible situation for them, and could affect their basketball careers negatively.
Growing up, every father has expectations of their children and the talents that they have. But, unlike other fathers, Ball spouts off crazy rhetoric that makes others blush. Most fathers are not as brash either. The situation that his spouting off has created almost guarantees his boys will fail, and leave him shaking his head. No child wants to disappoint their parents. But how can you not do so if the expectations are so extremely high?
Your Honor, I would like to enter sample B into the case against Mr. Ball: the Big Baller Brand.
Okay, we know how this is going to play out as well. These shoes are the next Jordans–better if you ask LaVar–and come with an extremely steep cost of $495 a pair. Or a pair of flip-flops for a fresh $220. But there is one catch: All sales are final and the shoes will ship by Nov. 24.
How much are the Lonzo ZO2’s, again? Almost $500?
For that price, there are plenty of other things that I could think of buying, and it is not his shoes. Mr. Detrimental strikes again, and possibly cost his son a good amount of cash in the process by declining any deals with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. There is an astronomical difference between making money and a smart business decision, and this seems like the former. I am by no stretch a sneaker head, and I have never owned a pair of Jordans. But, I also have a problem paying over $100 for a pair of shoes because that is how I was raised.
Another topic surrounding the Lonzo’s is people have come out in force attacking Ball for charging too much. And his response has been “Big Baller’s loose! If you can’t afford the ZO2’S, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!,” via his Twitter account. No, sir, I can’t afford your shoes because I have bills to pay and think it is asinine to take out a small loan for a pair of shoes. When has it ever been okay to mock someone who cannot afford something? To make it a short answer, never.
LaVar has done a tremendous disservice to his children, and taught them to mock those that cannot afford your greatness. While his boys do seem to have talent, being humble is not something that is noticeably taught in the Ball household.
The only thing I preach to my children is that they try their best and practice to get better. No pressure, no expectations, just cheering with love and encouragement. Unlike Ball, I do not think that my children will go pro in anything. And I am okay with that. But, continuously talking your children up as the next (insert famous person’s name here) is harmful in its own right. Let them grow into a well-rounded player with you behind them supporting them along the way.
But, that isn’t the Big Baller Brand way, and Mr. Detrimental knows it.