We’re so easy.
We press heathens will take anything that’s even slightly ridiculous and run with it like it’s the Olympic torch. But not even we’ve seen the likes of LaVar Ball.
You might not have heard of Ball, but there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of him. He’s the guy in the UCLA-colored t-shirt without the UCLA logo, cheering for his son the freshmen, one-and-assuredly-done point guard for the Bruins, Lonzo Ball. Words float like canaries from his mouth.
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,” Ball told USA Today. Is it ok to point out that LaVar averaged 2.2 points a game in one season playing basketball at Washington State, exactly 30 years ago? Sure is. Doesn’t matter.
“A billion dollars. It has to be there. Give us 100-million over 10 years,” Ball said describing the opening bid for any company wishing to market Lonzo and his two brothers, both of which are still in high school. Would it be ok to mention that LeBron James has a billion-dollar deal with Nike? Sure is. But, again, doesn’t matter.
LaVar Ball knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows the media will happily co-conspire. (I so didn’t want to write this column and I’m sure that when I’m done my laptop will explode.)
Outrage is in. Outrage sells. And honestly, the truth means nothing against celebrity. If you can’t be right, be wrong at the top of your lungs. And man, is LaVar Ball wrong. But only about one thing: He couldn’t beat Jordan one-on-one if Michael were dead.
He’s spot on with the rest of it, though, a man wholly in tune with the times. Don’t agree? Obviously you haven’t checked your microwave for a camera.
You could suggest what he’s doing is hurting his sons. Putting too much pressure on them. Exploiting them. Lots of parents see their athletically gifted kids as meal tickets, and I can’t deny LaVar Ball seems to be walking that fine line between supportive and excessive. Maybe. More likely, his act is so outrageous; it’s impossible to take seriously. I mean, you want genuine pressure on a kid, right?
Sure, LaVar is outlandish and a nice source of controversial opinions, but ultimately he’s just one dad in a long line of sporting fathers who take too much pride in their sons. And yes, I find him absolutely annoying but at least Lonzo will always have one cheerleader who believes in him unconditionally.
That’s all any child and athlete can really ask for.
Megan Huston is the sports editor for The Meteor. She can be reached at 936-348-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.