Los Angeles Lakers rookie star Lonzo Ball's dad, Lavar, usually has no problem putting his own foot in his mouth. But on Wednesday NBA legend Charles Barkley took Ball to task for his eccentric ways.
Lavar has three sons — Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Think of them as the sports version of the Kardashians. Ball's often on the receiving end of public criticism for his overbearing management of his sons' basketball careers.
Not one to shy away from saying what’s on his mind, Charles Barkley gave his opinion on the loudmouth Lavar and his kids during an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” show.
“I just feel sadness that the media -- CNN, ESPN -- has given this guy a platform," Barkley told hosts Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. "He represents everything that is bad about sports. It's all about him. I just feel bad for those kids.”
Ball is deemed one of those sports dads or pageant moms who micromanages every aspect of his children’s lives. The man uses his sons to promote an iPhone level of expensive shoe line called “Big Baller Brand” (BBB).
Barkley seems to agree with that sentiment:
Everybody talking about how he might be a good father, this and that. No he's not. He's just exploiting his kids. ... He's all about Big Baller Brand. He has no foreseeable talent. He's trying to make money on his kids, and I just feel sadness for those kids because they're going to do whatever he tells them to do. I just don't like the guy at all, plain and simple.
Lavar recently pulled his second son LiAngelo, 19, out of UCLA after the university suspended LiAngelo for his shoplifting debacle in China that resulted in President Trump aiding in bringing the ungrateful kid home to his ungrateful father.
LaMelo, 16, was pulled out of high school by Lavar, and now both of them have forsaken any chance at a college career by signing with a professional basketball team in Lithuania. In order to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), you have to be “at least (19) years of age during the calendar year in which the draft is held,” and “at least one (1) NBA Season has elapsed since the player’s graduation from high school.”
Since LiAngelo and LaMelo will both not be attending college, and LaMelo won’t be attending high school, NBA rules state that the player has to have been out of high school the same amount of time that corresponds with the class that they would have graduated with.
In the end, Barkley has a point. Lavar is less of a father and more of an agent/manager. Hopefully, the Ball children won’t get the speaking gene of their father. The most popular sports athletes are the ones that keep it simple and maintain an air of integrity.