Cautionary Tale Alert: Todd Marinovich Says LaVar Ball Makes Him ‘Cringe’

  • Rick Chandler

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You remember Todd Marinovich: in 1988 he appeared on the cover of California Magazine in a cover story entitled Robo Quarterback. That’s because his dad, Marv Marinovich, raised him virtually from birth to be the next great NFL QB.

Marv was the ultimate controlling sport parent: the NFL’s first strength and conditioning coach (Oakland Raiders), he put his son on a strict workout and diet regimen from the time he could walk. Todd Marinovich became a star prep QB in southern California, and then at USC. But he began drinking in high school, and earned the nickname Marijuana-vich. Problems with more powerful drugs ensued.

TMZ recently asked Todd what he thinks of the current top controlling sports dad, LaVar Ball:

“I wish people would just step back and just let these kids have fun,” Marinovich said. “I cringe a little bit at over-involvement.”

Despite leading USC to a victory over Michigan in the 1991 Rose Bowl, Todd had more trouble with drugs in college and was arrested for cocaine possession during his junior year. He then entered the NFL draft, and played only one season, for the Los Angeles Raiders. He then bounced from the Canadian Football League to the Arena Football League, and was done by 2001.

LaVar Ball’s basketball-playing sons — one in high school, one headed to UCLA and the eldest heading to the NBA draft following one year with the Bruins — are not exactly on parallel paths with Todd Marinovich. But they have a similar helicopter father, who seems to be controlling every aspect of their lives.

Who better than Marinovich to spot the warning signs? Speaking of cringing, I do that whenever I see this: