Lavar Ball Walks a Fine Line Between Overbearing Parenting and Good Coaching
By Brandon Simmons
The hottest name in sports at the moment is Lavar Ball but for the unlikeliest reasons right now. He isn’t involved in the NBA’s MVP race or trying to put out the dumpster fire with the New York Knicks, but he has gotten a lot of attention in the world of basketball, partially because of his son, Lonzo. Lonzo Ball is a freshman guard at UCLA but he is no ordinary player according to his father; Lavar proclaims Lonzo is better than 2 reigning MVP and current NBA phenom, Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry. Last Sunday, Sportscenter showed a piece on Lavar and his family and it brought the realization that there is a fine line between strong parenting and good coaching.
It’s hard to look at a story about Lavar Ball and think very high of him. He doesn’t seem to hide the fact that his Initially, you can read headline after headline and think to yourself, “This is just another loud mouth, overbearing Father trying to live his hoop dreams through his children.” People may have thought those types faded out years ago; but it was actually the fascination of them that went away. In interviews, he has done, Ball appears unapologetically relentless in making his kids the best basketball players they can be, whether it’s having them practice shots coming home after practice or settle sibling differences on the basketball court in their driveway. But this routine is what has probably set up the NBA’s future version of the Mannings.
Outside of Lonzo being the star at UCLA and projected number one overall pick, his brothers, LiAngelo and LiMelo, are not far from the spotlight. LiAngelo is a senior at Chino Hills high school in California and a UCLA commit. Younger brother LiMelo is a sophomore, but also an early commit to the Bruins and got a little fame for dropping 92 points in a game about a month ago.
But there’s more to it than polishing his kids’ jumpshots before dinner. Lavar has put the pressure on his offspring ever since that fateful day, when he was interviewed by a sideline reporter at a UCLA game and boldly proclaimed that his son, Lonzo was better than Curry right now. The madness continued when he suggested that fellow outspoken, bald-headed black man and NBA on TNT analyst, Charles Barkley, should have considered Lavar’s coaching to end up with a championship ring. To put this into perspective, and make sure you understand, the father of a college freshman point guard has put to shame a future hall-of-famer and current member all for a kid who has yet to play a minute in the NBA.
Of course it’s easy to say some dad who pushes his kids to be the best basketball players they can be is unacceptable, but let’s look at some of the other factors. The NBA is a big business to get into. In fact, all of professional sports is a wide industry filled with more shady characters than most would like to admit. So when Lavar gets involved in some his kids’ aspects of their career, is it really to be frowned upon?
Lavar Ball is a former college player so he knows the rules of how things went when he was in school and how things are now. During that same piece he acknowledged that all 3 of his sons were going to be one-and-done players as supposed to sticking with a school that would “exploit” them. That opinion is far from being unpopular. That’s the same sentiment as to why there is no NCAA Football videogame at the moment. But the Lavar train does not stop at the college level. In the past few weeks he has reportedly made claims of wanting only the Los Angeles Lakers to draft Lonzo and set the price tag of $1 billion for anyone offering his kids a shoe deal.
The passion that Lavar shows for his kids is what a lot of people feel about their kids on the inside but it looks completely different when it gets to the outside. Everyone wants the best for their children so much they feel they have to push them; sometimes to a limit most dare not even reach. Sometimes that can bring about a pressure a lot of people do not even wish to endure. In an industry, where millions of dollars can be determined within a matter of seconds, Lavar is instilling the type of discipline needed to sustain a long career the same way a coach or a manager would do. However, he is being a father guiding his sons whose future millions can attract all types of hands reaching into the pot, whether good or bad. He is walking the fine line of parenting and coaching so he can keep his kids on the right side the thin line between success and failure.
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