Lavar Ball: a genius or a narcissist?


Catherine Huang, Editor-in-chief

Since the NCAA playoffs and NBA draft season, the press has been eating up Lavar Ball’s antics. The most popular topic among sports journalists, along with the recent ESPN articles, has been about the Ball family. Lavar owns a compilation of controversial statements, but however misogynistic, racist and delusional he may be or seem, Lavar Ball is nothing short of a genius.

The Ball family consists of father Lavar Ball and his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. The family first gained publicity through Lonzo’s consistent and commendable performances as a freshman on the UCLA basketball team; recently, however, they have been receiving unwavering negative attention from the sports community and a steady stream of newsworthy headlines because of Lavar’s outlandish and questionable assertions.

For instance, Lavar has ejected a female referee from a club basketball game because she needed to “stay in her lane and ref the little kids first.” And he’s explained that “you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow” when UCLA unexpectedly lost in the Sweet 16 NCAA playoffs round. He’s also claimed that in his heyday, he could easily “kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.” Such words and actions have captured the attention of not only the public, but even of basketball prodigies Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, all three of whom criticized Ball for his unsubstantiated comments. While I, along with most of the public, don’t have much respect for his opinions and portrayal to the media, his unique approach is obviously working to his advantage.

With newfound media attention, he has landed a reality show deal with Facebook, bringing in millions of views each episode. He has agreed to a guaranteed admissions deal with UCLA’s basketball team for his younger sons LiAngelo and LaMelo. He has amassed more than half a million followers on Instagram and Facebook and is verified on Twitter. He has also made Big Baller Brand a shoe company in its own right and has given Lonzo and LaMelo publicity for their pricy shoe lines. He’s helped Lonzo become the most popular and talked-about rookie in the NBA even before Lonzo’s first official game as a member of the Lakers. He has moreover thrusted himself into the limelight, a far-fetched dream that star athletes long for, despite having had a 2.2 point-per-game average at Washington State.

Being under constant criticism may be draining and discouraging, but the way Lavar capitalizes on and prolongs his 15 minutes of fame is admirable. To Lavar, not being talked about is worse than being talked about unfavorably. And it’s proving to be working in his favor, much like how it’s worked during our recent presidential election and for the infamous “cash-me-ousside” teen, most recently known as Bhad Bhabie, from Doctor Phil.