Johnny Keib and Tanner Burns
The Ball family has become prominent in not only sports but mainstream news over the past year. “Phase one” started off with Lonzo Ball playing at UCLA. When people started to pay attention to Lonzo, in came his dad Lavar. The father of the three brothers is considered by many to be outrageous, but some consider him a marketing genius. He exploits his kids fame to sell Big Baller Brand.
Big Baller Brand is an apparel company that was founded by the Ball family. This year the oldest brother Lonzo plays for the Lakers, the middle brother LiAngelo used to play for UCLA, and the youngest, LaMelo, is a five-star high school talent commited to UCLA. Even though they don’t have much professional success, they sell their clothing at very high prices. Lonzo’s shoes cost $495, Big Baller Brand t-shirts cost $50, but despite the prices the apparel still manage to sell. But why do people want to but it? “They want to become a big baller,” says senior basketball player Takuya Laclair. Sophomore Will Davis adds on to Laclair’s theory. “They want to look fresh in school,” said Davis.
As a way to promote the clothing line, Lavar routinely makes absurd comments about his kids. He even said that Lonzo is already better than a former MVP Stephen Curry. But are they really as good as Lavar makes them out to be? Freshman Alex Sanville doesn’t think so. “I think the hype is too much,” said Sanville. However, senior Nico Modesti disagrees because “they are the best players on the planet.”
He’s gone from just making comments about his kids to possibly affecting their future. Lavar pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA after they suspended him for stealing from a Louis Vuitton store in China. Before that he pulled LaMelo out of Chino Hills High School because he disagreed with the coach. Some people believe this is going too far. Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach Jeff Ike said, “It’s kind of sad because there are kids involved, and sometimes the big picture is not looked at.” Currently LaMelo and LiAngelo have signed with an agent and are looking to play overseas.
A question that many people asked themselves is why people pay attention to Lavar. Many people have different opinions, like freshman Jamison Maclachlan. “He’s such an idiot that people just want to see what he does next,” said Maclachlan. Coach Ike agrees with Maclachlan that people pay attention because he is “outlandish.” As to whether Lavar is manipulating the media or actually believes the things he says, Coach Ike is unsure. “He’s just so stuck in his ways that he won’t listen to reason,” said Coach Ike.
The Ball family have become icons around the world over the past couple of years. Most of this success has been due to Lavar. He has been very out there and this makes people want to pay attention. It’s only a matter of time before we see the next trick up Lavar’s sleeve.