COMMENTARY: “Stay in your lane,” Lavar Ball


Lavar Ball wears a t-shirt of his now infamous quote. Photo courtesy: Lavar Ball’s Official Facebook Page

Nicolo Manzo

Lavar Ball may not think so, but he is sabotaging his sons’ careers.

Any National Basketball Association (NBA) fan knows Lavar never has a problem expressing himself.

The father of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has made some outlandish comments. Some of which can be seen in this verbal sparring match with ESPN commentator, Stephen A. Smith.

But, he has also made some head-scratching decisions too.

Lavar said he could beat Michael Jordan in a game of 1-on-1, rejected endorsement deals with some of the biggest brands in the world to create “The Big Baller Brand” and decided to send his other two sons to play in Lithuania rather than develop their games in America.

So, what’s his master plan?

Lavar wants two things: for his three sons (Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo) to become Lakers and to create a worldwide brand.

The first pieces of the puzzle fell into place when the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lonzo with the second overall pick last June.

The hype and expectations for the future Laker were almost unprecedented. I’m not sure what people expected, but I don’t think any rookie season could have satisfied those lofty expectations.

Lonzo got off to a slow start with his shooting. People were declaring him a bust after a week in the NBA.

It was a premature declaration set up by Lavar.

Lavar has since called out Lakers head coach Luke Walton on multiple occasions and said that Lonzo will not re-sign with the Lakers unless LiAngelo and LaMelo are offered spots on the team as well.

What Lavar fails to realize is the bigger the hype, the harder it is to live up to it, and the bigger the distraction, the more you have to do for a team to want you on its roster.

Fast forward to today and Lonzo is putting up 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. Lonzo’s 35.6 shooting percentage still isn’t ideal, but those numbers are respectable numbers that point to a Rajon Rondo-esque player.

Here is the question: Is all the dysfunction and distraction worth it?

It would appear the Lakers are considering that question. With Lonzo out with an injury and the Lakers playing better basketball, some trade rumblings have occurred.

The speculation isn’t so much a reflection of Lonzo as it is of Lavar.

Essentially one of three things needs to happen.

Either Lonzo has to distance himself from his father’s comments, tell his father to tone it down or Lavar needs to take it down a notch on his own.

It’s simple. There is a line between being a supportive father and at times an obnoxious and inappropriate disrupter.

Lavar has to find that line or risk ending the Big Baller Brand before it starts. I’m not saying don’t be proud of your son, but next time Lonzo has an off shooting night, don’t call for the coach to be fired. It’s not hard.

Lavar’s antics have already adversely affected his sons’ careers.

It’s time for him to take his own advice. “Stay in your lane,” Lavar.

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Twitter: @NManzoTWW