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edge staff writer


Celebrity Slam - Ball don't lie

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One of the few things that is even worse than a spoiled, entitled celebrity with no sense of how to be a non-terrible human is a spoiled, entitled celebrity parent with no sense of how to be a non-terrible human.

The history of entertainment is littered with stage parents who have proven to be mind-blowingly awful in their willingness to take advantage of any and all attention they can glean from the success of their offspring.

But we’re not just talking about movies and music. There’s a whole subset of terrible sports parents out there who are just as bad – and often worse – than their stage parent peers. You’ve got your jerkwad Little League and rec basketball parents, the ones convinced that little Kylen is going to become a professional athlete. That’s where it starts. Where it ends?

LaVar Ball.

If you’re lucky enough to not know who LaVar Ball is, then we’re sorry to be the ones who have to introduce you to this smug jerk. If the concepts of douchebaggery and self-promotion could take human form and then mate with one another to produce offspring, that offspring would find LaVar Ball to be “a bit much.”

He's a former athlete who couldn’t quite get over the hump and have a professional career, so he has instead started hawking his three sons – Lonzo, currently playing point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers; LiAngelo, who signed as a freshman to play for UCLA; and LaMelo, who is still playing in high school. Ball has used his sons as a way to force the spotlight to shine on him, attempting to turn that attention into branding and merchandising success.

You might have also heard about the three UCLA basketball players who caused an international incident by getting arrested for shoplifting in China. LiAngelo was one of those players. The trio was suspended indefinitely from the team.

LaVar Ball was having none of that. After a good deal of self-serving bluster, LaVar went ahead and pulled LiAngelo out of school, throwing blame and shade in equal measure at just about everybody involved … except for his son. According to reports, Ball will spend the next few months preparing LiAngelo to make the move to the NBA next year.

Yeah – he’s pretty much the worst.

It’s not so much pulling the kid out of school; you can almost understand not wanting the kid to have to watch the team keep playing without him. It’s a bad choice, but at least you kind of get it. No, it’s the ridiculous combination of demanding “accountability” from everyone and their brother without ever even considering holding his son accountable for his own actions. Yes, it was a relatively minor crime in the grand scheme of things, but it WAS a crime – one committed in a faraway country not particularly friendly to the misbehavior of foreigners.

And ultimately, you don’t get to decide how the kid is punished for this action. Even if he is your son. And yet – here we are, dealing with a weirdly anthropomorphized version of taking your Ball and going home.

(All this leaves aside the fact that very few talent evaluators think LiAngelo has what it takes to succeed at the NBA level. The notion that spending four months working out with his dad would somehow be better than staying in school is ludicrous.)

Look, all LaVar Ball wants to do is sell some shoes while convincing people to pay attention to him. He is willing to say literally anything if it means that he gets to be on TV again. Nothing matters to him but the expansion of the Big Baller brand; his sons are little more than a means to an end for him. They are his cash cow, the tool with which he can continue spreading the gospel of LaVar Ball’s greatness.

You can argue that his scheme has worked. Lonzo is in the NBA. LiAngelo was part of one of Division I’s most storied programs. LaMelo might be the best of the bunch. But that argument leaves aside the painfully apparent truth that LaVar is a garbage human, incapable of thinking about anyone but himself.

There’s an expression about basketball talent that goes “ball don’t lie.” That may be true, but rest assured – this Ball definitely lies.


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