The LaVar Ball Syndrome and Final Four thoughts
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 11:45 AM
In recent months a parent has been making national headlines in the sports world. No, it isn’t the parent of a middle school kid who fought a coach nor is it a parent who pushed pee-wee kids too hard in a practice. We are talking about a parent of a freshman at UCLA. A parent who has gone on the record saying many, oh so many, outlandish statements about what he could do against Michael Jordan.
Yes, we’re talking about LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA freshman phenom Lonzo Ball and two other sons still in high school. Mr. Ball has gone on record, more than once, that he could’ve beaten Michael Jordan while both men were in their prime in a game of one on one.
I’m fairly certain that Jordan could play Ball in just Ball’s prime and manage to wipe the floor with him. Ball has said that his Lonzo is already the best basketball player on Earth. That he is a Magic Johnson with a jump shot. That he is better than Westbrook.
Look, I have no problem with a parent being confident about their child’s ability in sports or academics. I’m sure that a parent of a kid who is the next great Chemist feels like they have the ability to make a ground breaking discovery in their field. That’s all well and good, but it becomes a problem when the parent eats up the headline of a talented kid which, in turn, creates a distraction.
We’ve seen parents in sports be a headache before. It is a timeless tale of parents fighting coaches, refs and other parents over their children. However, when you’re taking headlines away from your very talented kid who is going to be a top three pick when he declares for the NBA Draft, it is going to create a problem.
Ball has stated that he wants a billion dollar shoe deal for his kids. Not even LeBron James touched that figure coming out of high school and he was a sure thing in a time where sure things are few and far between in the NBA. Everyone knew that LeBron was the next big thing in basketball and was going to get those huge numbers.
Lonzo Ball, for as talented of a player as he is, he might not even be the first player selected in the draft this year. For a parent to come out and say, with this idea that his son might not even be the first player picked, deserves a huge shoe contract, it becomes a problem.
Maybe as a single guy I don’t quite grasp the concept of what’s going on with parents and sports. I don’t understand what drives them to act like they do whether it be making up outlandish statements or getting upset at a ref or coach. At least UCLA is gone from the tournament but LaVar Ball’s mouth won’t stop anytime soon.
Speaking of the Final Four, who had South Carolina making it this far? My goodness what a run they’ve had. I’m quite sure a few people had them getting dropped in the first or second round, but this has been a good underdog story for those who don’t live in South Carolina. I figured Florida would’ve had a great shot to knock them out in the Elite 8 yet basketball is a funny game when you can’t hit a three-pointer in a half of basketball.
Gonzaga, my original pick way back before the brackets were announced, made their first Final Four after years of being a trendy team to make it that far but always fell short. It felt nice to see them get over that hump after years upon years of trying. South Carolina has had a great run, but I don’t see them getting past this Gonzaga team who can win with defense, as they did against West Virginia or offense, as they did against Xavier. Maybe this is the Zags’ year to take it all.
Oregon dispatched Kansas in the Elite 8 in Kansas City. It was a bonafide road game for the Ducks and they handled it as well as anyone could in their 14 point win. Kansas always seems to field a great team but they usually fall short when they’re expected to win a tournament. About every time they’re a solid bet, they’ll drop out before the Final Four. Not that it should break too many hearts though.
North Carolina and Kentucky played in a classic game on Sunday. The last 10 minutes of the game were about as great as college basketball could get. The shots made by Kentucky’s freshmen to keep them in the game in the last minute were out of this world. Then you had big shot by the North Carolina kid to win the game with .3 seconds left. That’s March Madness in a nutshell.
North Carolina and Gonzaga will meet in the championship game. Both teams match up well and I think it could be an all-time classic contest if we get it. North Carolina’s experience would play the deciding factor in the game with the Tarheels winning. We’ll find out soon enough if I can finally get a game right.