The father of UCLA's Lonzo Ball is a factory for steaming hot takes. We decided to rank the hottest of the hot.
LaVar Ball is quickly making a name for himself as one of sports' most outlandish and overbearing fathers.
Ball is hell-bent on building a massive Kardashian-esque business empire for his three sons—UCLA's Lonzo, high school senior/UCLA commit LiAngelo and high school sophomore/UCLA commit LaMelo—and it appears he'll say whatever it takes to garner the media's attention. His outbursts have spurred some pretty strong reactions, and there's even some talk that LaVar's antics might be hurting Lonzo's draft stock.
Here at Extra Mustard, we are not in the business of draft stock; we are in the business of takes. Hot ones. Below you will find a completely scientific ranking of LaVar Ball's most outrageous statements, from somewhat-plausible to what's-in-that-pipe?
5. “If Charles (Barkley) thought like me, maybe he'd win a championship.”
Look, first and foremost LaVar Ball has no grounds to make a comment like this. The fact that this is the least crazy thing he's said really says more about how wild the things he says are than the validity of this statement. And the whole no ringz argument is a lazy cop-out of a burn, but this isn't a completely unbelievable statement. Barkley did get pretty close to winning a title—his Suns lost in the finals in 1993 to Michael Jordan's Bulls in six games—and maybe Ball has the type of mental fortitude that would have pushed Barkley over the edge.
Come to think of it, it is indeed a ridiculous statement, as Ball has no idea what it takes to win an NBA title. Plus, the whole no ringz diss is about as lame as it gets, particularly coming from someone who played one season at Washington State before transferring to Division II Cal State-Los Angeles.
4. “Lonzo’s going to be the first one drafted with his own brand... ‘That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 million a year.’”
The weird thing about LaVar's aggressive marketing of his son is that Lonzo seems to be a pretty quiet, humble kid. He's gone about his business this season and really hasn't said anything too crazy himself.
Anyway, this might actually be true. Other draft picks have had much higher profiles—LeBron's high school games were nationally televised while Lonzo probably won’t even be the first overall pick—but LaVar has created the Big Baller Brand (which sells $60 t-shirts) for his sons. He's said that instead of seeking an endorsement deal, he wants to create a Jordan-style brand centered around the three Ball brothers. I'll let you decide whether it's a good idea or not, but it is indeed a novel approach to marketing an NBA rookie.
He isn't getting a billion, though. That's for sure—LeBron's deal with Nike, the biggest ever for a newly drafted player, paid him $19 million a season.
3. “He gonna be better than Steph Curry in the NBA.”
On an island, I don't hate this. Sure, he's putting a fifty-pound weighted jacket of expectations onto his son's shoulders, and yes, Curry averaged 30.1 points on 50-40-90 shooting on the best team in NBA regular season history last year. But LaVar Ball is, in a twisted way, expressing confidence in his son. Plus, Lonzo does have a ton of potential—it's not like LaVar is saying some bench player on Oregon State will become an NBA MVP.
The problem is, this statement was not made on an island. He was given a chance to clarify his comments a few days after he made that initial statement, and he, uh, went a little further...
2. “He better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA's team and put my boy on Golden State and see what happens.”
Bruh. Your son is a top-five NBA draft prospect; Steph Curry is the back-to-back NBA MVP. In UCLA's loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Ball had 8 points and 4 turnovers on 2-7 shooting in 35 minutes. Something tells me Steph would have been a bit better. If UCLA had Curry, they'd probably be undefeated and most certainly would be more than just a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.
It was after this statement that we knew LaVar Ball can't be taken seriously.
1. “Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.”
Ball said this monstrosity in a wide-ranging interview he did with USA Today. I'm going to assume that by “my heyday,” Ball is referring to the one season of college basketball that he played at Washington State in 1987-88. During that season, Ball averaged 2.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1 assist for a team that went 7-11 in the Pac-10. On the year, he made 19 of 47 shots for a 40.4 field goal percentage and made 18 of 40 free throws. In simpler terms, he was bad, which might be part of the reason he transferred to a Division II school.
It's hard to pinpoint a specific year when Michael was at his best—his production from 1986 through 1993 was consistently absurd, and it didn't slow down much after he came back from trying to play baseball—so we'll use that same 1987-88 season as a basis for this comparison. That year, in the NBA, Jordan averaged 35 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals on 53.5% shooting. He was named the league's MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
Lavar Ball, in '88 when youu averaged that whole 2 points a game at Washington St, Michael Jordan averaged 35 a game with the Chicago Bulls— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) March 14, 2017
There is nothing funny nor cute about this claim, and you have to doubt Ball actually believes it. He says these things to get more coverage for himself and his sons.