March Madness is in full swing as the Final Four is set in stone. The best prospects of the 2017 NBA Draft are showcasing their skills on the biggest collegiate stage. Some players from eliminated teams have already declared for said draft. LaVar Ball is arguing with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN.
I have an opinion about college basketball: It isn’t good basketball. I don’t watch college basketball. However, there is a real excitement about the next generation of NBA stars that even I can feel. I know who Markelle Fultz is and I have heard the good things about Josh Jackson. I know that De’Aaron Fox had a few really good games in the tournament. I also know Lonzo Ball.
More importantly, I know LaVar Ball. By all accounts, he is a very proud father who played some college basketball himself in a time gone by. He is also a lunatic.
Ball is the kind of dad that half of the kids playing sports would love to have. The other half would feel like they were literally dying if they suffered the same fate.
The inevitability: Lonzo Ball is going to be drafted and LaVar Ball is coming with him. LaVar already has his embarrassingly tacky Big Baller Brand, you know, BBB. Duh. He’s also making waves with his outlandish behavior. He claimed he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, he said Lonzo would do more to help the Golden State Warriors than Steph could do for UCLA. In 2017. Sure, why not. Shoot your shot LaVar.
Again, it’s kind of working. LaVar is in the sports news every week with a new thing. His son, Lonzo, is also a very good collegiate basketball player, 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and six rebounds per game in 36 games for UCLA this year. He shot 55.1 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from 3-point range and NBADraft.net currently projects him as the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
If the lottery plays out the way the odds would say it should, the Los Angeles Lakers are the current holders of the No. 2 pick. What a match that would be. No, not for Lonzo – for LaVar. For years the Lakers have tried to pitch the distant and dying championship pedigree of their organization to free agents. They’ve also tried to capitalize on the stardom of their celebrity fans. Like when that guy from that TV show and the really bland garbage radio band wore that LaMarcus Aldridge Lakers jersey. That was funny.
They won’t miss on those kind of presentations anymore, not if Lonzo and LaVar are in town.
Here’s what I envision.
Lonzo gets drafted by the Lakers, but no one has any idea if he’s a point guard or if he can play shooting guard. His college numbers indicate he can shoot. We know that he can pass. He’s also 6-foot-6 and 190 lbs., so he could be a hybrid or a slightly larger framed point guard, like the 6-foot-7, 192 lb. Shaun Livingston. That, of course, is high praise and would be a solid ceiling for Lonzo. If he stays healthy, maybe he’ll be much better than Livingston. Prognosticating college players is not my forte, I’ll leave that to the pros.
LaVar on the other hand, that’s the real story. He outcrazied Smith on ESPN, he’s got his own brand, and he’s ready to make some moves. The Ball Empire is just now in its ascent.
LaVar is on his way and he’s bringing cannons. T-shirt cannons. Basically, LaVar shows up to every Lakers home game with his own, unsanctioned t-shirt cannon. He is flanked by his two assistants: An intern named Percy and one of the other Balls, LaMelo. When asked why LaMelo is with him instead of doing homework, LaVar will bellow that LaMelo can go do his homework when he beats LaVar at a one-on-one algebra pop quiz. LaVar loves pop quizzes. He explains this in detail and then says that he would beat Michio Kaku at a one-question essay pop quiz on quantum physics right now, says that Kaku would “need a whole team of physicists to deal with me.”
LaMelo and Percy carry one massive, overstuffed tote bag each. They are duffels purchased from an Army Navy Surplus. They are filled with Big Baller Brand t-shirts that have some awful MS Paint “BBB” design on the front and say, “1-v-1 > 5-v-5.”
To make things better/worse, depending on how you look at it, LaVar fires off these t-shirts whenever he wants. He starts by just doing it during timeouts and at halftime, but as he grows more agitated with D’Angelo Russell and Luke Walton, he starts firing them off during live action when Lonzo is on the bench.
At some point he’s going to fire them off at people. I suspect that will be fine until they play the Clippers or he hits Matt Barnes or he makes a road game appearance at Dallas when he and Mark Cuban actually delay the game by 43 minutes as they stand nose-to-nose at midcourt, screaming about which of them will make it to Mars first – LaVar insists he’ll make it on his own, derides Cuban for needing a team to help him get there.
Ultimately, Lonzo is primed to have a good career, with upside to be great. Hopefully, he’ll stay healthy and if he does fall to the Lakers, maybe they do something like trade one of their other pieces not named Brandon Ingram in order to acquire more established talent. It could work out for everyone, even neutral fans.
LaVar ends up bankrupt in outer space when he reverse engineers his t-shirt cannon for rocket propulsion. And he won’t even need a team to do it, he’ll do it all on his own.