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Celebrity Slam - Balls dropped

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As regular readers of this space know, our primary focus in the celebrity realm tends to be the entertainment world – actors and musicians and whatnot. But never forget that athletes are entertainers too. And they have just as much money and unbridled ego as any movie and/or rock star. They’re just as capable of saying and doing the kinds of idiotic things that land them in the Slam.

On a related note, we haven’t talked about the Ball family for a little while.

World’s Worst Sports Dad LaVar Ball has his boys back in the spotlight now that he has apparently pulled the plug on the totally-not-a-stupid-idea Lithuania experiment. Just three months ago, young LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball were going to change the face of European basketball by playing on BC Vayutas.

Shockingly, it turns out that two teenagers weren’t necessarily ready for the rigors of playing professional basketball. Particularly not in a place where they didn’t even know the language. Turns out that communication without language is hard – even on the hardwood.

But never fear – LaVar stayed very much on brand, blaming the situation entirely on the coach. He claims that he has no problem with anything – not the organization, not the people, not the country itself – other than the coach.

Despite this seeming setback – which LaVar is trying very much to spin into some kind of win – the Balls are still doing what they do. The cameras are still rolling with the also-totally-not-a-stupid-idea “Ball in the Family” reality show. LiAngelo is reportedly prepping for an NBA draft in which he almost certainly won’t be selected, while LaMelo is … well, who the hell knows?

The nature of our work here at Celebrity Slam means that we have developed an appreciation for schadenfreude. We do find amusement in the suffering of others, though only if that suffering is self-inflicted and relatively innocuous. LaVar Ball’s suffering is amusing indeed.

This is precisely the sort of setback that one hopes will somehow get through to LaVar that his constant meddling and rash decisions are only causing problems to his kids. If the guy learns not to immediately say what comes into his head and stops being convinced that he can make things true by saying them enough times, they’re going to be OK.

Well, they’re going to be OK regardless. Lonzo’s an NBA starter, a first-round draft pick. He might not be thrilled with the nonsense his dad gets up to, but he’s probably not going to let his brothers suffer for it.

And what about those brothers? It’s tough for LiAngelo – the kid was on the team at UCLA before the whole stupid Chinese shoplifting situation (which, let’s be honest, was the catalyst for the Grand Lithuanian Experiment) and now he’s essentially a washout from a bottom-of-the-barrel European team in a league with a tenth of the talent of even the Pac-12. His (and his dad’s) NBA dreams are almost certainly shattered – the chances of him being selected are infinitesimal.

But it’s even tougher for LaMelo, a 16-year-old kid whose only faults were A) being good at basketball and B) having LaVar Ball as a dad. A dude that age should be thinking about video games and math classes and crushes. Instead, he had to uproot himself, move thousands of miles away and play basketball in a place where the only person he knows is his brother whose fault it is he’s there in the first place.

Some considered LaMelo to be the most talented of the Ball brothers, but the odds of him achieving real success in the game have been severely curtailed. He’s ineligible to play in high school anymore and forget about him playing in college; his eligibility is long gone. And under the NBA’s current rules, he can’t declare for the draft for another couple of years. He’s in limbo, thanks to his dad being an impulsive idiot.

So yeah – we’re relishing just how spectacularly wrong LaVar Ball proved to be about all of this, but it’s a bummer to see his kids suffer for his hubris. LiAngelo might be a stiff, but LaMelo probably had a legitimate shot at the league. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Turns out that Ball does in fact lie.

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