Root For LaVar Ball If You Want To, But Just Know You’re Rooting For A Piece Of Shit » VSB

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Root For LaVar Ball If You Want To, But Just Know You’re Rooting For A Piece Of Shit

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

 

There’s so much to like about the idea of LaVar Ball that at times it feels like he was created in a Likable Nigga Generator. First, of course, is the fact that he’s the very involved Black dad of three star athletes, which contradicts both a stereotype about Black men and a stereotype about Black athletes. He’s challenging the major shoe companies; choosing to create and promote his own family’s brand instead of pushing his son to sign a standard sponsorship deal. He possesses the type of outspokenness and brashness and bombast that certain types of people often mistake for savvy and sagacity. (Because, they believe, if he’s talking so loudly, he must know what he’s talking about.) He’s an extremely large man, both in person and presence. The type who doesn’t just fill out the rooms he enters. He consumes them. And he’s unafraid to tell White people about themselves. And by “White people” I mean “White women who work for Fox and the low-hanging punching bag filled with strip club buffet guacamole called ‘Jason Whitlock.

Combined, these characteristics create a profile of the perfect iconoclast; someone particularly equipped to disrupt the unseemly relationship between (mostly Black) athletes and the entities — the NCAA, the shoe companies, and the NBA and NFL specifically — taking advantage of their labor. Rooting for him — this big and bad-ass Black father — to succeed isn’t just easy, it’s practically mandated. The idea of him and what he’s doing is so seductive, and feels so right, that it even compels (some of) us to attribute his boasts about beating Michael Jordan and Lebron and Steph Curry to some sort of marketing wizardry.

Complicating things, however, is LaVar Ball himself. And the fact that he’s a piece of shit.

The most notable characteristic about shit is that, well, it stinks. Some shit stinks worse than others, but even the sweetest smelling shit still smells like shit. The smell is so pungent and the content so toxic that we created labyrinthic plumbing systems specifically devised to get expelled shit out of our homes as quickly as possible. And when something’s odor is that aggressive, there’s not much to be done to mask it. If you dropped a gallon of Febreeze on a single log of shit sitting on a carpet, it would just smell like someone dropped a gallon of Febreeze on a log of shit.

The aintshitness of LaVar Ball has been perceptible since he’s been a public figure. Some of us have ignored it, of course, because of what we believe he stands for. And some of us are so desperate to see someone stick it to the man and tell White people about themselves that it could literally be a bucket of shit doing it and we’d still say “That three gallon bucket of shit has a great point!” And, well, there are some people who don’t see anything wrong at all about what Ball is doing. Because just how game recognizes game, pieces of shit recognize other pieces of shit.

It became harder to ignore two months ago, when USA Today published a feature on the Chino Hills high school basketball team Ball’s two youngest sons attend. In it, Ball was revealed to be the worst type of sports parent — a bully who sabotaged the team’s season with his toxicity. The stench came through again when on Fox Sports last week. Regardless of how you feel about Whitlock and Kristine Leahy, that shit just wasn’t cool.

And then, last week the shit peaked with a back-and-forth with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. It began when Irving appeared as a guest on Uninterrupted’s “Road Trippin'” podcast, and spoke on LaVar and Lonzo.

“I’m sorry, LaVar, you’re not going to be in every hotel room that Lonzo is going to be in. You’re not going to be everywhere and part of his life as he continues to grow up. You got to let go. He’s 19-years old. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to bypass him being a father, but he’s got to let Lonzo be Lonzo for the long haul.”

“I had to have a talk with my dad, and I was just like, ‘Man, Dad, I love you, but I’m going to make my own decisions. And he told me, when I turn 18, I’m responsible enough for myself to make my own decisions, and he’s going to be there to help along the way. But when I turned 18, like, I got my first tattoo. I got my ear pierced. I just started doing my own thing.”

Kyrie, who has walked the path that Lonzo will soon be on — and also has a dad who’s very involved with his life — offers practical and considerate advice. There’s nothing here even remotely shady.

A few days later, while on Fox’s Undisputed, LaVar responded.

“Maybe he don’t have the relationship that me and Zo got. And I don’t think he did. First of all, your mom wasn’t there, so something’s got to change right there. It’s not the same. Lonzo can come home and see his mom and dad all the time. We’ve been together.”

LaVar is right. Kyrie’s mom wasn’t there. Because she died of Sepsis Syndrome when he was four.

This is something most people who follow the league know. In fact, her name (Elizabeth) is inscribed on each of Kyrie’s signature shoes. And LaVar used this as a comeback. Essentially, in response to Kyrie saying “What you’re doing is cool, but maybe you need to fall back a bit” Lavar basically said “That’s why your momma’s dead.”

Think about how much of a piece of shit someone has to be to do that. A dead momma comeback is bad enough as a response to an insult. This was just him responding to a practical and sober piece of advice.

I’m not going to call for any type of boycott of his shoes or muzzle of his platform. He can do and say whatever the hell he wants. And, if the idea of what he’s doing is important enough to you to ignore who he actually is, fine. Buy his shoes, watch his interviews, and defend him on the internet and in the barbershop. Just know that you’re supporting a piece of shit. Which basically makes you a toilet.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Alessandro De Medici

    – I think most people who support Lavar, don’t like him.
    – They like the “idea of him” aka they hate big corporations they believe exploit young athletes.
    – The law of averages, means that they will eventually be forced into a position of looking stupid or like hypocrites.

    • Rastaman

      So he is a Trumplike figure?
      A subhuman who is an instrument of revolution?

      • Lara

        Trump is not a subhuman, neither is Ball. They both are high charging alpha males. The world needs men like them. It would be pretty boring if they were all nice guys.

    • capwulf

      I support,and like him.

      I know a great deal of men who do.

      But you are entitled to your assumptions.

  • Kylroy

    Thank you. He’s not going toe-to-toe with the shoe companies and the NCAA because he’s seeking justice, he’s doing it because they cut into his ability to profit from his son(s). That certainly doesn’t make him evil, it just means he’s no nobler than every other media figure looking out for number one.

    • capwulf

      He’s never made a secret of the fact that he want’s to profit off his sons.

      He says it all the time.

      The important question is why…to which he responds that he wants to build an empire for his family.

      He’s not a duplicitous man. He’s upfront about everything.

  • Darkchloe144

    I think in the beginning he could have been that iconoclast if he’d just chilled out, that was the extent of my understanding of my own father’s support of the guy. I didn’t know about those last two points. What a dilldo….

    • Kylroy

      I just reread the end of the article – I’d assumed he was talking smack about Kyrie’s upbringing not knowing his situation. But nope, he straight-up emphasized his mom being gone. Assuming LaVar’s kids end up succeeding in the NBA, I think it’s only a matter of time before they have to distance themselves from his latest dumbass outburst.

      • Alessandro De Medici

        I called it awhile back, that his son is gonna end up with a Jewish agent, and they’re both going to conspire to get rid of him. It’s going to be ugly.

        • Kylroy

          …Jewish? LaVar got some Anti-Semitic streak I haven’t (yet) heard about?

          • Alessandro De Medici

            That’s just how it plays out.

            Plus, I don’t think a black agent is going to have the heart to run interference and ruin a relationship between a dad and his kid, but lawd is it necessary.

    • Alessandro De Medici

      I think he’s one of those who thinks anyone who comes at him, needs to get chopped down, regardless of the context.

      In that sense, he’s very similar to Trump.

      • Freebird

        And very American

        • Alessandro De Medici

          Very much so lol.

          Americans have a hard time dismissing people.

      • He’s eventually gonna catch somebody’s hands and it’s gonna be great.

        • Kylroy

          Sadly, said hands might belong to NBA hired muscle at some press event. Always hard to cheer corporate security.

      • Darkchloe144

        By pushing everyone’s buttons, he’s digging a grave for Lonzo’s career before it’s even begun. And he can’t see that, because he’s a foolish, prideful individual. Been a while since I’ve needed that word, foolish, but it fits.

      • Plusthe narcissism. The blaring narcissism.

  • Cheech

    *struck at how the last two sentences echo past conversations with Trump voters*

  • DCFem

    His dead mama though? Wow! Got me sitting here wanting to lace up and ride over there with Kyrie.

    • catgee12

      Exactly … and I don’t even fuQ with Kyrie …

  • Junegirl627

    When lack of media training has gone wrong. Lavar Ball in trying to make sure that the power structure doesn’t use his kids and make them some band of traveling clowns they make money off of. He has become a traveling clown that the media makes money off of.

    I see who and what he is trying to be but I think he needed to study Richard Williams (Venus & Serena Daddy) on how to make your kids a success.

    • cyanic

      Ball covets the celebrity he’s garnered.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        This that’s the problem. I think his approach is 80% about things outside of himself, 20% I want the limelight.

        • cyanic

          He loves the limelight that eluded him in his ball playing prime.

    • Amen

      I think he’s been fairly calculated in his dealings. I think seeing Lavar as some naive guy who can’t get out of his own way is selling him short. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

      • Junegirl627

        I don’t doubt it. But he has an ego the size of Texas and that is what the media is playing to. They know he wants the lights and the cameras and they give it to him because they know what he has yet to realize. He is a repugnant human being and we are a “shoot the messenger” society. So the easiest way to derail him is to give him a platform. give him TV time put a mic in his face. Now you corp america doesn’t have to put up a roadblock to his success he destroys it all by himself.

        So yeah He knows what he’s doing but he doesn’t realize how damaging he is to his kids brand.

        • Avenging Son Roman

          He is not dumb or ignorant by any means. He’s like a heel in the wrestling world except everything he says and does is being covered by the media on a daily basis and the more outrageous statements he makes the more coverage he knows he’s going to get. And he figured that out some time ago. He’s really a marketing genius almost on the level of Donald Trump. And stinks like a liquefied corpse the same way that he embellished his method. I really feel sorry for Lonzo, I feel with the target his father’s putting on his back he’s going to have a lot of NBA players coming at him hard. You think Kyrie and LeBron ain’t already looking forward to putting him in his place?

          • Brother Mouzone

            That boy knows he has the loud crazy dad, he’s used to it. If you got game, you will WELCOME muhfuggas coming at you.

            • Avenging Son Roman

              How can you forget how D’Arron Fox exposed this boy when it counted? Everybody says the major flaw in Fox’s game is shooting but he was scoring on Lonzo at will. How is he going to handle grown men like Kyrie coming at him? Only a handful of players come in the NBA straight from college and prove to be difference-makers right away. And the last one that truly did was a high school kid named LeBron James… If you are even suggesting that Lonzo is on that level that’s ludicrousness on a higher level than Trump being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.?

    • NonyaB?

      Exactamente! Not a sportshead but have read of his shenanigans an the first thing I thought was: He’s not pioneering anything and there’s an established, calculated way to achieve what he’s aiming for, with case studies available to help. Is he really being that much of a loud buffoon even in his own head that he can’t see that? His preoccupation with mini battles instead of the main war suggests he is.

      • Alessandro De Medici

        This is what a lot of the supporters of Lavar are missing.

        • Darkchloe144

          Agreed.

          • Alessandro De Medici

            If you’re declaring war on Goliath, you win by outsmarting him, not by being louder and more obnoxious. Lavar is like, “Fuck this slingshot sheit, I’m gonna get in Goliath’s face and cuss his Mama, then he gonna run away crying because he don’t know what to do when he’s in front of a real man”

            • Darkchloe144

              And then his azz gets his head bitten off like its Attack on Titan. Smh.

              • Kylroy

                See my earlier comment about him possibly getting rolled by NBA security. No joy to be had there.

                • Spicy Kas

                  Exhibit A, Charles Oakley

              • BlackSpartacus

                Plus 1 for AoT reference.

              • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                +1 appropriate AoT reference.

              • mr. steal your costco samples

                Attack on Titan is the worst weirdest ish. My 40 yo azz got legit nightmares after watching beast titan

                • Darkchloe144

                  It ain’t for the faint of heart, that’s fo sho.

            • UdonNo

              everybody got they own approach– being loud worked for Trump ! Lavar gonna be alright

              • Alessandro De Medici

                Trump was selling himself, not Donald Trump Jr though.

            • donpark1

              Exactly how many Goliath’s have you slain(Literal or figurative) in your life? How man children have you raised to become star athletes? How many sneaker prototypes have you produced?

              • Alessandro De Medici

                I mean if you want to know my personal biography, that’s a different story, altogether.

                However, logic is as logic does. There are many examples, we can look to, to people who’ve done or attempted to do what Lavar is doing, and it’s quite easy to tell that a. he doesn’t need to do what he’s doing, and b. there is no logic to his madness.

                But hey, live by faith or die by faith right?

                • donpark1

                  Blah blah blah blah… Exactly as I thought. Sit back and watch greatness… Maybe you’ll learn something. Anything that has ever been done had to be done for a first time.

        • Lungyao Stadard

          The article doesn’t say anything for me to take seriously.

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          • outlyer06

            i’m hard pressed to call a man that i don’t know a piece of sht…because of some emotional off color comments directed at folks who came at him..not having media training or being any good at clever clap backs, does not make one a piece of sht

      • Looking4Treble

        Pride is a hellava drug. He seems addicted.

  • I find the Balls extremely problematic. There are ways to properly get paid instead of getting played- usually requires some business, marketing, or financial savvy. I think LaVar is a cocky, stubborn, LOUD, bully that is getting in the way of his son’s success. I’ll be patiently waiting with popcorn in hand to see how this all turns out…

    • onedroprule

      Stopped reading after this sentence, “I find the Balls extremely problematic.” Can’t stop laughing… I might get fired

      • Hahaha I re-read it and laughed too. Ah well, can’t change their name. Don’t get fired!

    • NonyaB?

      “I find the Balls extremely problematic”.

      http://geekologie.com/2016/09/02/stress-balls.gif

      • Looking4Treble

        Still the Queen!

        • NonyaB?

          I do it for the people!

    • Michelle

      LaVar reminds me of that one guy that pulls a bout of theatrics before a fight and ends up getting his a$$ whupped.

  • In all of this I’ve never seen Lonzo play. Telling.

    I dislike Lavar as much as I dislike Kristine Leahy for playing a scared white woman.

    The comments about Kyrie is just extra dirt baggy.

    • Kylroy

      I feel so sorry for the kids. Even being NBA All-Stars will not be enough for the ludicrous hype their dad is giving them. Heaven help them if any of them are merely average players, or don’t make the NBA.

      • I’m sure they love their pops but the spot light is going to get old. I read somewhere the next kid in line probably doesn’t have NBA talent but I don’t know what that means these days.

      • Alessandro De Medici

        I don’t think it’s going to hurt their careers…but damm, the trash talk they’re going to be hearing on the court?

        https://media.tenor.co/images/59cfb5b5e4c67340a3e57bb9deb46459/tenor.gif

        • Brother Mouzone

          Trash? On a basketball court? Oh noooooo! Hide the chirrens.

      • There is no way his kids don’t have serious relationship issues.

        • Kylroy

          I’m wondering what happens if any of his kids develop a mentor relationship with a coach or teammate or even an agent. I can’t imagine LaVar taking well to them listening to *anyone* but him.

          • Sounds like a Friday Night Lights subplot.

            • Kylroy

              I feel confident saying whatever happens to the Balls, it will end up making a for a *great* movie.

          • Wait until they find some dumb cheerleader that puts that thang on em.

            • Kylroy

              The dumb cheerleader he can probably shout down, though. Another man, in basketball, with years of experience the kid could benefit from? Less likely to take it.

            • I’m pretty sure there are gaggles of Becky’s and girls who look like Tinashae (Because California) are out there trying.

          • Michelle

            Listen, Eddie Arkadian is not going to allow his son become close to anyone. The only way that I can see Angela, I mean, Lonzo becoming close to someone is if the father thinks that he could get something out of that friendship.

            • thasamiam

              Love the Last Dragon references. One of my favorite movies as a kid.

      • Brother Mouzone

        People will forget all about what somebody’s daddy said when they start playing. There will be new stories to follow and Levar will be old news. Tiger’s dad talked a lot of mess too before he won anything.

    • Amen

      *whispers* I don’t think Lonzo is going to be that good.

      • Question

        I don’t either.

      • catgee12

        Agreed …

      • Michelle

        Gawd forbid if you’d said this on Tumblr or LSA. Then you would’ve been called everything but the ‘Child of God’ and a ‘dream-killer/bitter’.

        • Here We Go

          What’s LSA?

      • It’s like the great Black hype.

    • Brother Mouzone

      I think a lot of people missed how he slid that comment in on her about her “scaring” him. Lol

  • MsCee

    “strip club buffet guacamole….” ummmmm yuck. Lol, now let me finish reading.

    • Spicy Kas

      You know it has hairs in it for sure

      • Reemo

        I wanted you to know i down voted you cause…BRUH

        • Spicy Kas

          I mean could have included that it is likely turning brown near the edges but I didn’t. Give me some credit.

          • MissRosé

            Sir, Sir.

          • Kylroy

            Browning is just what guacamole does. Hairs in it, on the other hand, doesn’t just happen.

            • Spicy Kas

              That is why Black Jeezus invented lemon juice.

              • Kylroy

                I’d rather think “they’re neglecting the buffet” than “they’re *shedding on* the buffet”.

      • MissRosé

        Now see THAT was completely unnecessary….#yuck

      • MsCee

        Lawd, just ugggh. My stomach.

      • Yahmo Bethere

        Gives it that…spice!

        • MsCee

          By spice you mean…oral herpes?

    • siante

      just the thought of a buffet at a strip club ?

    • Michelle

      I’ve been to a strip club that offered a buffet. I’m sorry, but there’s something about open and showcased landing strips and food, being in the same room, just turns my stomach.

      It’s like watching a stripper dance her set to gospel tunes. It’s just… No.

      • MsCee

        See. Nah man. I’ve been to a club with a buffet but a skrip club with a buffet. It’s gotta be some kinda health code violation lol.

  • Lara

    I kind of like him.

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