Christian Fuentes, Sports Journalist for Metro Puerto Rico
LaVar Ball is the name we keep hearing, watching and reading about and we’re already tired of. Draft night is a month away and this guy is all over sports websites, channels and social media. The father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball has turned into the face of everything wrong in sports media and is hovering a cloud over what’s supposed to be a deep and talented draft.
Now, this post is counter-productive, because it’s a call to stop paying attention to LaVar Ball, and I’m writing about him. But bear with me here. It’s not just the huffing and puffing bravado about hyping up his sons (there’s also LiAngelo and LaMelo in high school), or some of the outlandish things about Lonzo being better than Steph Curry right now or how he would have “smoked Michael Jordan” in his prime. It’s the fact that sports media like ESPN or Fox Sports invite him to their different shows all the time. It’s the fact that we have to read about things he says for the fun of it. When LaVar Ball says something, no matter how bizarre it is, it’s the top story. This is what’s wrong with sports media (and any media in general): The focus goes where the clicks and traffic goes. Having LaVar Ball say something about Kyrie Irving’s mother, who is no longer with us (a disgusting move), or writing about Cristiano Ronaldo posting a shirtless picture on Instagram is preferred over José Altuve hitting for the cycle or Derek Carr throwing for six touchdowns.
Gut feeling? This man will cast a dark shadow upon the NBA if he isn’t ignored. How do we get him off the radar? Stop talking about him and stop posting about him. Ball loves the attention and if that dies down, he might back off.
Finally, there’s a concern about his son. Hypothetical: Let’s say he gets drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. I read somewhere that Lonzo’s father “does the interviews he doesn’t wanna do”. Red flag already. We’re already dealing with a bad time for athletes and media reporters. It will come as no surprise if he calls out Luke Walton for the usage of his son. It’s just unwanted pressure being put by a way-too-involved parent to a young talent who will want to have a good start to his NBA career and life. LaVar should watch Dell Curry and how HE handles supporting the careers of his sons. Last I checked, they turned out fine. Especially that one LaVar claims Lonzo is better than.