The week that was: Why the Lakers need Lavar Ball
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The more I see and hear LaVar Ball preach the gospel of Big Baller Brand, the more I wonder how many parts of this is clever showman or unhinged fool.
I’m rooting for Ball. All of them. I really am.
I remember Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena. The brash, in your face tennis coach from the inner city that boldly claimed two black girls from Compton, California would rule the tennis world. He was right. Damn right.
I also remember Marv Marinovich. His son, Todd, was literally trained to be the perfect quarterback. But this regimented lifestyle led to Todd’s downfall. A dark place of drugs, assaults and arrests.
LaVar’s actions have definitely given us some pause.
- Telling a female reporter to “stay in her lane”.
- Brushing off his son’s international shoplifting charges.
- A verbal tit for tat with the President of the United States. Think about that.
Ball pulled his kid out of high school because of a coach that wouldn’t accommodate his game and now jousting with the employer of his oldest son.
The Lakers knew this was coming. LaVar would not be silenced.
The team tried to tell us that they had an understanding with the Biggest of the Ballers. LaVar would keep his criticisms about the coach, system, organization to a dull roar. Run it by the team first.. sure. Not so much.
LaVar says Laker players don’t want to play for head coach, Luke Walton. He insists that Luke has lost the team. Here.. we.. go.
Some will tell you LaVar needs to let the Lakers run their own organization. I’m here to tell you it’s the other way around. The Lakers need LaVar. Yeah. They do.
Think about it.
The Purple and Gold are in rebuilding mode. They’ve lost 27 of their first 40 games this season and aren’t going anywhere. Hard to imagine one of the jewel franchises of the NBA rendered irrelevant.
But LaVar has made them matter.
When you watch a Laker game, why are you watching? When you check the box scores your eyes immediately go to find Lonzo’s stat line. That’s because LaVar made it happen.
This isn’t the golden era of Laker basketball but in some perverse way.. LaVar is building a bridge. He’s softening the blow. Getting the franchise through the lean years. And make no mistake.. the good times will include Lonzo Ball. Shoot, his brothers might even be on the court with him when they win another title.
What will the future hold for Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo? So far it’s been Lakers, Los Angeles, Louis Vuitton and Lithuania. Hopefully there is some Love too.
Now if we can only get LaVar to return a phone call and get to the post office. People are waiting for those shoes, Big Baller.
You can listen to my radio show, The Sports Bosses , weekdays at 9 a.m. CT on SBNation Radio.