An open letter to LaVar Ball

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Samantha Axon, Sports Editor
@saxoncourant

Dear LaVar Ball,

I am going to preface this by saying that I have never paid attention to UCLA basketball before you and your son came along. If someone were to mention UCLA to me, I would probably think of the legendary teams from 1967-1979 that won thirteen straight Pac-12 titles, and won the national championship nine times. But that is just about it. Bottom line, I was not on top of my UCLA knowledge. The first time that I

Lonzo Ball dribbles down the court in a game against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Photo by fivethirtyeight.com

heard of you, or your son, was when you said that he was the next Michael Jordan, and stated that Lonzo would play only for the Los Angeles Lakers. I thought that would be the last of you, that you would realize what you said, how if would impact your son, and never talk to the media again.

Boy was I wrong.

The last few months you have escalated your comments from harmlessly cocky to unbearable. You stated that you would have beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one (after averaging 2.2 points per game at Washington State). You stated that Lonzo is the best ball player of all time. You stated that your kids were more fit for success than LeBron James’. The insane statements kept piling up, and at first I could not understand why you continued to make them. But after you stated that Lonzo was better than Steph Curry it dawned on me, you were trying to increase the public’s perception of your son and increase his NBA stock. He was slipping in the race for the Wooden Award and you wanted more NBA teams to start paying attention to him.

LaVar, I know what you are doing is to bring attention to Lonzo. I think you have officially succeeded in making sure that anyone not living under a rock has heard of

ESPN’s Stephen A Smith interviews LaVar about his statement that he could beat Michael Jordan.
Photo by deadspin.com

your son. Jokes about you have replaced the Golden State Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead on my Facebook feed and no matter where I go, I hear about your antics. Yes, your plan might have worked at first. You brought NCAA Basketball viewers to pay attention to your son, and made him sound significantly better than he actually is in order to increase his NBA stock.

But it is not working anymore.

NBA teams are seeing your actions and are now questioning if there is a place for Lonzo on their team. These teams are seeing Lonzo as a potential distraction, someone that will eat up the media coverage. Does Lonzo have any chance to be on the Cavaliers after your statements directed towards LeBron and his kids? Probably not. Does Lonzo have any chance on the Warriors after you stated that Lonzo is better than Curry? Would not bet on it. Plus teams are thinking about what new drama you will bring to the court, and if there will be any altercations between your son and his opponents due to your statements.

Lonzo is very talented and I wish him the best going forward. But your statements are not helping him anymore. Teams generally do not want players that are controversial or have a controversial reputation, just ask Colin Kaepernick. Lonzo has great potential in the NBA, but will not be able to showcase any of that if your words are making airwaves instead of his performance. So I ask of you, LaVar, just to take a step back and let Lonzo show the country what he can do. He can only be the next Michael Jordan if he has the opportunity to play.

Sincerely,
Sam Axon

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Samantha is a junior at NCHS and the sports editor for the Courant.

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