With Lonzo, LiAngelo and Lamelo on the path towards basketball greatness, Lavar Ball's wit is authentically trailblazing a road to transcend basketball norms Written by Courtney Flumo @courtney_flumo
As the College basketball world gear up for the National Title game and Pro fans are concerned with whether the Cleveland Cavaliers or Golden State Warriors will win the NBA Championship, arguably the biggest name in the sport is Ball; specially, Lonzo, LiAngelo and Lamelo Ball. The Ball trio is undeniably basketball rock stars and dad Lavar Ball has no issue in letting the world know the value of his three young men.
Born to two California natives and former collegiate D1 athletes, the Ball trio may have been destined for Hollywood like basketball stardom. Mom, Tina Ball, played basketball at Cal State and dad, Lavar, was a member of Washington State. Such a basketball background would lead others to believe the Ball parents intentionally breed basketball players, yet, by Lavar's account they never forced their children to partake in the sport. "I played basketball, my wife played basketball, all three of the boys don't play nothing but basketball, so how authentic can you get", says ball during our recent telephone conversation. In fact, due to the genuine love all three children have for basketball, the Ball family have enjoyed twenty years of family bonding centered on the sport; family games, training and traveling from Gym to Gym during club basketball and high school seasons.
Despite the national attention the Ball family is receiving, nothing has changed within their family structure. Lavar remains focused on over seeing his three sons basketball development while Tina ensures they continue to achieve high regards in the classroom; often yielding 4.0 or better results. Lavar Ball makes it known his family is not bothered one bit by the national light, "We always had attention to our family only thing now is there are camera's," Ball says before going on to proclaim there is a reason for this attention. "We expect it, it comes with the territory, but if you're not good nobody cares...it's just like if you invest in something and it turn out to be good you're going to talk about it," he says. It is this type of confidence that shapes the mantra of the Ball dynasty "Built For This." The Ball young men have certainly delivered on those lofty expectations.
Lonzo just finished his one and done season at UCLA and projected to be a top three pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA draft, LiAngelo is a high school senior heading to UCLA and LaMelo is a sophomore in high school who garnered national headlines after scoring 92 points in a game this past February is also headed to UCLA when his high school career is over. During a time in which such marquee players will decide to lend one year to perineal top 10 programs like Duke, Kentucky and University of North Carolina, the Ball's are comfortable with the historic UCLA program despite its previous struggles. 'It's not the school that makes the dude it's the dude that makes the school' says the elder Ball.
Lavar believes that his young men are ready for the challenge of bringing back UCLA basketball. He noted the change that Lonzo has had on elevating the program in just one season. 'Lonzo was ready for the UCLA challenge' says Lavar Ball. He compared Lonzo's impact on UCLA to that of which he had on his high school program Chino Hills. 'No one knew of Chino Hills' he went on to say. 'We put them on the map' Ball proclaims. Lavar Ball does not see his three sons as 'game changers', but he notes 'they are program changers.' He teaches his young men to go in and establish a winning culture instead of pushing to be statically great habitual losers. He even noted that his wife does not baby the three young Ball men and in fact gives them critical feed back to their play; if they have a horrible game she makes them aware of the fact that they played horrible. It's this kind of candid parental feedback that have their three boys expecting to win every time they step on the court.
Though Lonzo, LiAngelo and Lamelo's play on the court makes this family story so compelling, the sub plot to this American family rise is that of Lavar and his hands on approach to managing the business of Lonzo, LiAngelo and Lamelo being elite level basketball players. Recently it made national news that Lavar was seeking a whopping one billion dollar endorsement deal for his family brand 'Big Baller Brand' or BBB as you see on most of the apparel (https://bigballerbrand.com). Though this number may seem absurd to most, Lavar makes his case to why this number is the value of his family's marketability. Lavar asked me, 'how come the sneaker revenue is going up and the amount they are giving to the players is going down?' He went on to say, 'I want to create an empire for my young men. With the Big Baller Brand I created a brand for our family - something that is internal that can be forever. Everybody want something fresh. The winning is what people are buying. Jordans are still selling because he was a winner.'
Considering the success of '3LB' it's hard to argue with the Leadership of both Tina and Lavar. As the rock of his family, Lavar is willing to take the heat. He is not afraid to speak his mind because he believes in what he is saying. His plan is to make sure his young men knows what value his young men have in the world. As for those who believe Lavar is too involved in the business of his three sons' careers, he says with great conviction, 'if just talking is the worst vice I can have being a dad I will take it.' In Lavar's words, 'the best thing about what I do is knowing whatever I say or do my family has my back. They trust me'
Much has been said of the Ball family, from Lavar's hands on approach, to Lonzo's form, you name it the jokes are there. Lavar, the spokeman for his family has an answer for the continued nay sayers. 'When I go left I go left because I wants to. It's because I believe something is better that way.' He went on to say, 'if you want it, are you built for it? Sometimes stuff gets real hard. Whatever you are trying to do in life - are you built for it? If not, then go do something else.' Measuring the success of the Ball trio to date, it's hard to argue against them not being built for basketball success and the rewards that go along with it.
*for additional basketball coverage follow me on twitter @courtney_flumo
John Wall and Wizards turn back Hawks, 115-99, move on to Eastern Conference semifinals - 13 hours ago
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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (6'4''-PG-90, college: Kentucky) ended his night early, walking off the court with the clock stopped late in the final quarter. He deserved the proper ovation for a road villain - hard handshakes from teammates and scattered boos from a salty crowd - after closing out the Atlanta Hawks. As the Wizards defeated Atlanta, 115-99, in Game 6 of a first-round playoff series and advance to meet the top-seeded Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals,... [read more]
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (6'4''-PG-90, college: Kentucky) ended his night early, walking off the court with the clock stopped late in the final quarter. He deserved the proper ovation for a road villain - hard handshakes from teammates and scattered boos from a salty crowd - after closing out the Atlanta Hawks. As the Wizards defeated Atlanta, 115-99, in Game 6 of a first-round playoff series and advance to meet the top-seeded Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Wall stamped this elimination game with a performance suited for franchise lore. In the final quarter, as the Wizards nearly lost a huge lead, Wall outscored the Hawks by two, pouring in 19 of his game-high 42 points. The performance earned Wall and his team a date with Boston, where the best-of-seven series starts Sunday at 1 p.m. Wall's output ranks as the third-highest total by a Wizards or Bullets player in the postseason - but it was a defensive play that defined Wall's night. The Wizards went ahead 68-46 early in the second half, but that lead turned to rubble. With less than nine minutes to play, the Hawks trailed just 93-90 and point guard Dennis Schroeder (5'11''-PG-93, agency: Octagon Europe) thought he had a clear path to the rim to pull even closer. That's when Wall chased down Schroder, erasing his fast-break layup with a block. He then drove and finished at the other end to push the lead to 95-90. 'It's really not fair - a point guard being able to do what he does. It's only one player in the league who does that, and we all know who that is,' Coach Scott Brooks said, referring to LeBron James. 'But he does it every game. That's a sign of a champion. You chase down plays. You stay in plays.' It wasn't just Wall. The Wizards collected 16 steals - Kelly Oubre (6'7''-G/F-95, college: Kansas) Jr. performed as a defensive bugaboo with five - and blocked seven shots. 'We needed that energy on defense,' Bradley Beal (6'5''-SG-93, college: Florida) said. 'Those extra effort plays. 'We were flying around. It was all about our defense tonight. We had great, great baskets down the stretch. We made some tough baskets, but we couldn't have been in that situation without getting those stops.' Every time the Hawks worked back into the game, with the Philips Arena crowd chanting and screaming throughout the final 12 minutes, the Wizards responded to that desperation with their own road resolve. When the Hawks again pulled within a field goal with 5:32 remaining, Wall found Beal cutting around a screen on the next possession, and Beal's 16-foot jump shot was pure, just as it was much of the night. Beal made 11 of 17 shots for 31 points, his third 30-plus game of the playoffs. In the opening minutes, Wall didn't need to chase down an errant outlet pass by the Hawks, but that hustle and save led to Beal's three-pointer in transition. In the first half, the Wizards outscored the Hawks on the fast break 24-4. Jason Smith also showed the necessary grit and toughness just by being active. On Friday morning, Smith's left calf strain was considered so serious that Brooks felt he might have to keep his backup center on the sideline. But when starter Marcin Gortat (7'0''-C-84) picked up two fouls in the opening 4 minutes, Smith got up from his seat and unfastened his warmups. The grit was tested again in the closing seconds of the quarter, when Beal stood up for himself and the Wizards showed that they would not back down from this fight. After a steal by Oubre, Beal raced in for a breakaway dunk. As he landed, Kent Bazemore (6'5''-G/F-89, college: ODU) subtly pushed his side, and the contact sent Beal sliding into fans seated along the baseline. Beal popped up, his ire directed at official Bill Spooner, and he bumped into Bazemore's chest as several teammates rushed in and showed their displeasure. There was only a shove here and there - and a very angry Smith gesturing toward Bazemore - but the anger abated. It was an unusually fiery moment in a series that, beyond the talk of 'double MMA' and a few GIFs of Wall dunking over or staring down Schroder, had lacked sizzle, overshadowed by fouls and missed jump shots. Markieff Morris (6'10''-F-89, college: Kansas), averaging nearly five fouls in the series entering Friday, had spent too much time on the bench after reaching, hacking and fouling his matchup, Paul Millsap. And through five games, the Wizards had struggled to find any offensive rhythm, shooting 43.9 percent from the field. On Friday night, Morris managed to get through the first half without committing a foul and subsequently had his best night since Game 1. Morris started the game with a turnaround baseline jumper, then air-balled his next attempt. But after the gaffe, Morris transformed into a floor-spacing forward by knocking down a pair of three-pointers in the opening quarter and finishing with 17 points. After 40 minutes, Morris had just two fouls. Once Morris figured out how to remain on the court - his presence allowed the Wizards to keep their best unit intact - the glossy veneer returned to Washington's offense. The Wizards saw some of the same shots they couldn't make in previous games. On Friday night, those shots fell - the Wizards shot 65.8 percent from the field in the first half en route to a searing 65 points. The offense again looked inspired, and late in the half Brooks was so fired up after watching Beal work over Tim Hardaway Jr. (6'6''-G-92, college: Michigan) Jr. and cap a possession with a 23-foot jumper that Brooks slapped his shooting guard on his rear as he ran back on defense. By halftime, the Wizards' defense also deserved a hand - the team had forced 11 steals, the most since the Philadelphia 76ers collected 14 during the first half of a playoff game May 13, 1999. Even so, the defensive effort could not last. In the third quarter, the Hawks cut into the 22-point deficit and scored 36 points. Then three minutes into the final frame, a defensive scramble allowed Hawks guard Jose Calderon to shoot an open corner three - and Atlanta trailed just 93-90. The Hawks had asked one final question. Wall and the Wizards had the answer. 'It's the same thing they did to us two years ago,' Wall said, recalling the 2015 playoff series against the Hawks. 'We had a chance to win Game 5 here; we lost it. In Game 6, they beat us in our home, and all we could do is have sad faces and go back home. So we came in with that determination and focus that we wanted to do the same thing them guys did to us two years ago, and me and Brad led the way. ... We didn't want to have a Game 7.' Courtesy of: washingtonpost.com
Celtics Destroy Bulls 105-83, Overcome 2-0 Deficit to Win Series - 14 hours ago
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The Boston Celtics completed their first-round playoff comeback against the Chicago Bulls on Friday with a commanding 105-83 victory in Game 6 at the United Center to win the series, 4-2. Boston dropped the first two games of the series but won four straight after Rajon Rondo (6'1''-PG-86, college: Kentucky) suffered a fractured right thumb. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, and Avery Bradley (6'2''-PG-90, college: Texas) led the balanced effort with 23 points. Jimmy But... [read more]
The Boston Celtics completed their first-round playoff comeback against the Chicago Bulls on Friday with a commanding 105-83 victory in Game 6 at the United Center to win the series, 4-2. Boston dropped the first two games of the series but won four straight after Rajon Rondo (6'1''-PG-86, college: Kentucky) suffered a fractured right thumb. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, and Avery Bradley (6'2''-PG-90, college: Texas) led the balanced effort with 23 points. Jimmy Butler (6'7''-G/F-89, college: Marquette) posted 23 points, seven rebounds and three steals on the other side, but it wasn't enough for the Bulls to stave off elimination. Boston could do little wrong on the offensive side and turned Friday's contest into a blowout with its onslaught from the outside. The Celtics drilled 16 three-pointers and shot 48.8 percent from the field, torching Chicago's defense throughout. Isaiah Thomas (5'9''-PG-89, college: Washington) couldn't find the touch from deep (1-of-7), but he sliced through Bulls defenders at will, which created many of the open triples for his teammates. Chicago didn't exactly counter from long range on the other side at 4-of-19 (21.1 percent). In a similar pattern to other wins, the Celtics wasted little time seizing control of the game with 30 points in the first quarter. The Celtics never looked back and sapped Chicago's will with a 34-18 third quarter. The Celtics are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and have larger aspirations than just a first-round win against an overmatched opponent, and they showed flashes of dominance Friday. If they can replicate that in the second round and beyond, they may be a serious threat to the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Courtesy of: bleacherreport.com
Erik Spoelstra Has Interest In Running Heat Front Office Someday - 14 hours ago
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Erik Spoelstra has interest in running the Miami Heat when Pat Riley retires. Spoelstra was asked about it during an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski. "Short answer would be, I'm a Pat Riley disciple, and, like I've said, he's always pushed me and nurtured me for the next steps," Spoelstra said during the interview recorded in Southern California. "So, yes, that I'd love to have that opportunity years down the line from the Arison family, because I believe in them so much as human beings. [read more]
Erik Spoelstra has interest in running the Miami Heat when Pat Riley retires. Spoelstra was asked about it during an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski. "Short answer would be, I'm a Pat Riley disciple, and, like I've said, he's always pushed me and nurtured me for the next steps," Spoelstra said during the interview recorded in Southern California. "So, yes, that I'd love to have that opportunity years down the line from the Arison family, because I believe in them so much as human beings. They're such good people and family oriented." Spoelstra said he is comfortable in his current role Under Micky Arison and Nick Arison. Spoelstra already has a seat in all organizational meetings with Riley and Andy Elisburg. "Pat, he's going to go on, hopefully for a while," Spoelstra said. "I think he's younger now than he was when he was coaching. And he's such a visionary. The way things are set up right now, look, I want this to be the set-up that it is right now. "I feel involved. Every meeting that's important, that deals with the organization and personnel, it's usually just four of us that get in a room, Pat, Nick, Andy and myself. And if it really gets to a level, then Micky will. I couldn't ask for anything more. I don't feel like I need more right now." Riley signed a five-year extension with the Heat a year ago. Courtesy of: realgm.com
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