Jones: Fear of LeBron has silenced Ball, most of the national media
Not that there was any doubt, but if anyone questioned the power or authority LeBron James carries across the NBA landscape, it has been proven, once again.
And it has absolutely nothing to do what the league's apex predator has done on the hardwood.
Actually, it's a two-fold accomplishment/achievement:
1. James and his team of heavy hitters have found a way to muzzle The Mouth that Roared, aka, LaVar Ball.
2. In this report-it-first-and-worry-about-its-accuracy-later 24/7 news cycle in which we all exist, Team LeBron has somehow managed to gag the Ball-obsessed media from even mentioning No. 1.
Doubt either point?
Think about it... when was the last time anyone heard a peep, let alone a hot-take, outlandish quote from the patriarch of the Ball family?
Last year, none other than Lakers honcho and NBA legend Magic Johnson reportedly gave Ball an ultimatum to knock off his antics, one which Ball completely ignored, of course, even after whispers the Lakers would consider trading Ball's son, Lonzo.
Remember this gem?
With James now donning Lakers colors, however, as a teammate of Lonzo, Papa Ball has gone mysteriously quiet.
Or, more likely, been hushed by Team LeBron, a representative of which probably told Lakers owner Jeanie Buss a condition for LeBron defecting from Cleveland to head to Hollywood would be to get Ball to shut his pie hole.
Which was pretty much depicted on the big screen four decades ago in a scene from the greatest comedy of all-time, Animal House, in 1978.
Picture LeBron's messenger as Carmine DePasto, mayor of the town of Faber (played by Cesare Donova), delivering this message to Lakers management, Vernon Wormer, dean of Faber College (played by the late John Vernon):
While Ball may not have feared Magic would be willing to trade Lonzo, there's little doubt LeBron, or more likely, a member of his inner circle, could make it happen with a snap of his fingers.
It's one thing to get a guy, even one with as big a mouth of Ball, to clasp of yap. An impressive accomplishment by Team LeBron, without question.
LeBron himself fired a warning shot across Ball's bow last March after Ball mentioned James' children.
“You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad,’" Ball said. "And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?’ And then they are going to be like, ‘Aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
James, of course, was understandably not about to let that stand without a response.
“Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth, keep my family out of your mouth,” James said. “This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.
“He can talk all about his brand, talk about his sons, talk about basketball, talk about me. But keep my family out of this.”
However, to basically hush the national media when it comes to having done just that with Ball since he's joined the Lakers is an even more impressive feat.
How has it been accomplished?
Simple, the vast majority of the media heavyweights don't want Team LeBron upset with them. Otherwise, they'll be denied the most important thing, what they crave and have come to rely on the more than anything -- access to The Best Player on the Planet.
All of which shows the powers of Team LeBron, like James' vast array of talents, are out of this world.