It was clear from the start that LaVar Ball was looking for his sons to stand out from the general college basketball crowd.
When Lonzo began playing for UCLA, LaVar often garnered publicity by constantly calling out bizarre encouragement to Lonzo, including “He is better than Steph Curry,” “Lonzo is weighed down by unathletic white guys,” and most notably, “Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.’’
With LaVar’s two younger sons also set to be playing for UCLA, despite the fact that LaMelo still has a few years to go before he finishes high school, he’s made headlines again by withdrawing middle son, LiAngelo, from UCLA. under the guise that he can prepare him better for the NBA than Bruins coach, Steve Alford.
LaVar Ball managed to effectively use the college basketball system to get his kids even more publicity, by turning the spotlight on himself.
Lonzo’s performance on the Bruins may have been what first earned him national attention, but with a personality as ostentatious as LaVar Ball’s it wasn’t hard to keep the family in the news cycle.
Since Lonzo cemented himself as an NBA draft pick, his less talented brothers have had to get their publicity through other means. After LiAngelo’s shoplifting incident in China, which got even the President talking about them, effectively steering attention away from LiAngelo’s middling basketball skills.
LaVar was able to parlay some of that attention towards his youngest son, LaMelo who is on par or possibly even surpasses LeBron James as a high school player. The youngest Ball has over three million followers on Instagram, and with Steph Curry looking to him for style inspiration, LaMelo is better known than many NBA players.
Some of that notoriety, however, is solely because of his father’s continued antics, including creating a signature shoe for him, and deciding to home school him as preparation for the 2020 NBA draft.
LaMelo may be a better player than LiAngelo, but it’s too soon to tell how well he’ll stack up next to Lonzo. It’s clear LaVar never wanted his sons to be regular college players, he just wanted them to stand out from the crowd.