By Justin Thomas
Whether you love him or hate him, Lavar Ball is here to stay so get used to it. Over the past few months Lavar Ball has been arguably the most outspoken person in the sporting world and he’s not even an athlete or coach. If you don’t know by now, Lavar Ball is the father to the basketball trio of Ball Brothers Lonzo, Lamelo and LiAngelo. Although all three of the sons show promise of basketball greatness he has been more outspoken though about oldest son Lonzo, who is projected to go either #1 or #2 in this year’s NBA draft. He’s stirred the pot a few times saying his son right now would make the Warriors better than Steph. Or when UCLA lost in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky he commented saying “Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow”. Comments such as these put Lavar in the hot seat among the media and general public.
The reason mainstream media and certain demographics may find Lavar Ball annoying is that they just aren’t used to someone like him. A bold, brash and loud black man who is going to be heard by anyone that’ll listen. He is truly a living, breathing black barbershop on any day Saturday afternoon. The black community for the most part is familiar with someone like a Lavar Ball arguing basketball and spewing hot takes in the shop while waiting to get a cut. When Lavar makes comments about what his sons are going to do in the league, who they’re better than, or going to be better than, all he’s doing is hitting a hot take.
Most recently though Lavar Ball was trending over social media because of a recent appearance on Fox Sports’ “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd. Ball took slack because he told Fox Sports 1’s Kristine Leahy to “stay in her lane” during the show when she tried asking him a question about his shoe sales from Big Baller Brand. This prompted Leahy to pester Ball with questions and Ball kept shutting her down preferring to talk to Colin. Part of the reason why Ball wasn’t addressing Leahy may have been due to comments made by herself and Jason Whitlock back in March about Ball’s company and parenting skills.
They made comments on the show such as “His son looks like a robot” and “he[Lonzo] looks terrified when talking”. Bringing it back to this show and it seemed like Leahy just kept going after Lavar with no remorse. And when she wasn’t getting the answers she wanted she then tried to spin his words, saying things such as he doesn’t respect women. Or when Colin asked him about the comments made by Jason Whitlock, and Lavar said “I don’t think he can comment on anything, but snacks”, Leahy tried to spin it and say “so you disrespect women and people for their weight”. Or let’s look at when Leahy made the comment about the Big Baller Brand apparel not appealing to women. Last time I checked in Nike, Adidas or Footlocker, there isn’t a special women’s section for basketball sneakers, just women’s sizes. If that’s the case why isn’t Leahy going after LeBron or Steph or Kobe for not making women friendly sneakers? However, the highlight of the interview came when Lavar was saying how if Leahy acts a certain way, something is coming to her. Kristine perceived this as a threat from Ball and proceeded to say “Are you threatening me”. These words coming from a white woman directed at a black man may be one of the more frightening things based off of this country’s ugly past. Ball even said earlier in the show how she scared him.
For anyone crying that Ball crossed the line and disrespected Leahy clearly is only seeing the situation with one eye open. Leahy and Whitlock disrespected this man’s parenting skills and company on live television. What normal human being isn’t going to retaliate in some form or another? Lavar chose to retaliate by ignoring her and somehow he’s the bad guy? The worst thing Ball said during his show was his diss towards Jason Whitlock and even that was mild at best. In this day and age more and more people are getting offended and many are being offended either for the wrong reason or just for the sake of being marginalized. And if America was tired of seeing and hearing Lavar talk as many proclaim, then sports outlets like ESPN and Fox Sports wouldn’t keep inviting him on their shows. At the end of the day Lavar is going to be in the media as long as his sons continue to thrive so buckle up because it might be a bumpy but thoroughly entertaining ride.