My kitchen is the room of choice for solving problems and just hanging out, and the other day conversation centered on LaVar Ball and his three sons. Suddenly a voice came out of the peanut gallery, “Who is LaVar Ball?” It came to me that if these knuckleheads who eat and sleep sports don’t know, maybe this is the time to introduce this hot mess to the readers.
LaVar Ball is the father of Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, all quality basketballers. The problem is that when it comes to these kids, their potential and their accomplishments, LaVar suffers from a severe case of diarrhea of the mouth.
Since Lonzo was drafted in the first round by the Lakers, LaVar’s mouth has reached a new level. You could hear fans giggling all over the country when he predicted that Lonzo was going to school John Wall when the Lakers and Wizards met. Wall conducted a seminar on the do’s and don’ts of round ball in the pro ranks, leaving young Lonzo to reflect on the fact that he is now living in a different world, and probably felt like he had just stepped into a knife fight carrying a switch. He did better in their second meeting, but it is obvious he still has a little moisture behind his ears.
LaMelo, the youngest, committed to UCLA when he was 13 years old—can’t blame this one on pop. LaMelo is a 16-year-old now, and his first order of business is figuring out how to get out of high school. This ain’t like the pros where you can take an early out of college and step into the draft. In this scenario, you have got to have that diploma in your hands before the gods of higher education will talk to you.
Now on to the topic of the conversation that started my household buzzing. The middle son, LiAngelo, is firmly entrenched as an integral part of the UCLA basketball team. On a trip to China to face Georgia and spread a little good will, LiAngelo and two of his buddies decided to do a little shoplifting. Just saying “shoplifting” and “China” in the same sentence makes my head hurt. When it was reported that these guys had been arrested, LaVar unleashed his mouth again: “Ain’t no big deal.”
I am now convinced that this man’s elevator isn’t stopping at all of the floors. If these kids had been arrested in Philadelphia or Newark or even Biloxi, Miss., I’m thinking law enforcement may have cut them a little slack. But we are talking about China. They have people in China who have been in jail since the Ming Dynasty.
Fortunately, in the interest of good will, the Chinese Police didn’t take them to the house of slamming doors, they confined them to house arrest. I don’t want you to think this is going to be a day at the beach, because it is customary for weeks to pass before they will be seen in court. And trust me, being confined to their hotel room is going to be very unpleasant. If their rooms have a mini bar, I hope they have sense enough to treat it like kryptonite.
I wish these kids the best and hope they learned a lesson from this. And, if all goes well, maybe LaVar will have a little surgery on his vocal cords.