LaVar Ball is an egomaniac that has been enabled by the rising stock value of absurdity and outlandishness. However his defenders will tell you that regardless of what you think about his tactics, he’s a family man who loves his children and that he’s doing what he’s entitled to do as a father.
And I have no evidence to the contrary.
While he’s displayed behaviors and characteristics that I find concerning and even offensive, those are really just my opinions. They aren’t facts. Ball’s wife and three sons have never accused him of anything untoward, and they defend who he is as a person and as a family man. Until I hear otherwise from a reliable source, I have to assume that Ball is just his own type of person – a brash, bold, interesting, rude, opinionated, business-minded person that is doing what he needs to do to ensure that his family capitalizes on whatever they’re worth in the open market.
I’m not even going to try to dissect whether it’s bad or good for his brand, it’s just a fact about who he is. Most of the TV personalities that he’s speaking with are exactly the same way, so he’s no outsider in that regard.
However, because Ball has employed the strategy of blitzing the sports news cycle via daily public appearances, he’s opened himself up to criticism – even speculation. That’s the name of the game. And since he’s invoked his role as a father and his commitment to his family at every turn, it’s unacceptable that he refuses to give that same respect to others.
Here he is, calling out Kyrie Irving for not knowing what it’s like to be a dad – and then accusing him of not understanding Lonzo’s life because he has a traditional, nuclear family that Irving never had.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) May 17, 2017
“He couldn’t wait to get away from his dad. Why? Because you guys was needy back then. My boy’s not needy, he does whatever he wants…so you can’t put yourself in my situation and star saying ‘oh, from my experience.’ Well maybe he didn’t have the relationship that me and [Lonzo] got. And I don’t think he did. First of all, your mom wasn’t there. Well something’s gotta change right there, it’s not the same. Lonzo would come home and see his mom and dad all the time…”
The “who are any of you to judge LaVar’s family dynamic” camp are sure to have a difficult time with this one for many reasons – beginning with the fact that KYRIE IRVING IS MOST DEFINITELY A FATHER. It takes a very quick Google search to find that out.
Azurie Elizabeth Irving 11/23/15 35 hours of labor from her great mother and she came into the world to bring a shine to my world that I never thought was possible. I love you so much, and my heart grew the first time I felt your heart against mine. Mommy, I gave her your name because I know you will bless her and our family the same way you blessed me. I love you.
In part of the caption to this photo, Iriving wrote:
Mommy, I gave her your name because I know you will bless her and our family the same way you blessed me. I love you.
Yeah, that one parent household that Ball seemed so comfortable throwing in Irving’s face? It was because his mother died tragically of sepsis at the age of 29, leaving a husband behind to raise their daughter and son by himself with the help of family.
And here’s what Irving’s teammate Tristan Thompson had to say about the dad that Irving “couldn’t wait to get away from”:
“I know [his mom’s death] has been definitely tough on him, but his dad has been a great role model and has helped him grow as a man and you can see it on the court,” Thompson said. “I think losing a family member forces you to grow up a little quicker and you can see that in his game. He’s a special person.”
We learned last week that Ball has no tolerance for speculation (at least from women) about who he is as a parent or a business man – with many people on Twitter and in the blogosphere noting that his showdown with Kristine Leahy on FS1 was justified because she’d made unfair comments Lonzo appearing “terrified” during a press appearance with his dad.
Yet what Ball said about Irving was ignorant, uninformed and mean-spirited. Unlike Leahy, he did no reporting. All he did was undermine the supposed ethos that he applies indiscriminately to every criticism that is hurled his way. If LaVar Ball is going to invoke “family” and “fatherhood” at every turn, he should damned well know the full story before getting on TV and lying about someone else’s.