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

Featured, Sports

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.

  • Val

    So basically Lavar Ball is Richard Williams but with no couth and no chill?

    • He’s every famous sports dad with the caveat of his kids playing a sport that public cares about more than a few times a year.

      • Kylroy

        I’m flashing more to Earl Woods than Richard Williams on LaVar. But Tiger at least got to make his name playing before his dad promised everyone the moon.

        • Earl and Richard knew what they didn’t know. Going back to the Trump comparison of Lavar, I don’t think he would admit that he’s over his head.

          • Question

            Or that he’s effin’ up.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Tiger had been winning at the Junior level and college so Earl didn’t have to do much talking.

          • Kylroy

            I think the Balls are doing really well at their current levels. (Man, this family name makes for *so* many awful puns…) But basketball is a team sport, you can’t really tell how you do at the top level until you play there. Golf is a solo endeavor, you can evaluate talent in a vacuum because it’s *played* in a vacuum.

        • Brother Mouzone

          Tiger’s dad was talking trash way before Tiger even turned pro.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Meh, I don’t recall Grant Hill’s, Doc River’s or Kobe’s dad being d!cks

        • I don’t know if Grant’s dad or Doc were as hands on as Lavar either. They pushed their kids but seemingly guided from a distance. Kobe’s day bred him to be kind of a machine/sociopath or seemingly.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Not much to do in Italy as a Black teen but ball out. Jelly Bean may have led him to the water but Kobe drank on his own.

        • miss t-lee

          Basically.

    • Freebird

      Richard Williams is looked through the lense of time differently because his kids made it. He said some things that were cringe worthy as well.

      • Val

        Maybe, Fb, but if I recall his wars were against racism in tennis and he was fighting back against that, no?

        • Freebird

          Away from the things we agree with he has said something’s that could be further reviewed. At the least folks forget he was accused of domestic violence against his daughter’s mother. Im team Williams but he is not much better than the Ball father.

          • A H

            A much better comparison would be Archie Manning not Williams.

            • Kylroy

              Eh, Archie was a celebrated QB in his day – nobody thought he was asking his sons to fulfill his dreams.

        • A H

          Yes. Richard didn’t speak for his girls, he spoke up for them. When they became of age and wanted to make their own decision he let them. When they needed him back (Venus after she was sick, Serena when she fired the second coach) he came back to help. BIG DIFFERENCE .. right now anyways.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Richard was the John Thomson of tennis. He protected his girls from the tennis machine and wasn’t afraid of making waves when needed. He told the world Serena was going to be a better player than Venus.
          John had the Hoya’s uniforms with the Kente cloth in it. Rich had his girls rocking the braids and beads that every Black girl could identify with.

        • Monica Harris

          Yea, Richard and Oracene both did not mince words when it came to their daughters. It was almost always about the racism they faced and never about self promotion.

      • Richard, also eventually went away. If one or all of the Ball kids blow up will Lavar do the same.

      • Question

        But there was never any question what his intentions were. And tennis when his girls entered it was a far more menacing for black athletes than the NBA…

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Richard doesn’t have couth or chill either. The difference is:
      A) Richard was right to act the way he did; part of his actions were to protect his kids not self promote
      B) Venus and Serena won which was the perfect middle finger to the tennis establishment. Lonzo has to rely on others to help him achieve a sliver of the success the Williams sisters have tasted.

    • miss t-lee

      I’m not sure.

  • cyanic

    Difficult for me to have feeling for the man since I don’t follow sports. This sort of low behavior happens often in our domestic politics. Is his ain’t shtness more funky than the next man’s?

  • Lara

    I wonder who LaVar voted for. He seems like the type who would like Trump.

    • Cheech

      Shut the fuck up, Dmitri.

  • Lara

    Most sports fathers are like this. That is why their kids are good.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “Most sports fathers are like this”
      Throws BS flag

      • Let’s not feed the troll, SS_93.

        • Val

          It always gets a meal at VSB.

          • Kylroy

            It’s the three initial posts within five minutes that really annoy me.

            • Val

              Bait.

              • Kylroy

                And, so, *so* transparently so.

            • It wants to lull you to a sense of complacency before erupting in stupid fuckshit in a more political thread.

            • Brother Mouzone

              Just think of her as Betty Shelby, baiting you to respond so she can murder you.

      • Lara

        There seems to be a big advantage in sports with having an involved father. He pushes his son to work hard, he drives him to games, and he advocates for him.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          So what about athletes from single parent homes? You argument is severely weakened by the countless stories of successful athletes raised by their mothers.

          • Lara

            Obviously there are exceptions. I do think an involved father is a big advantage, though. Sports are so competitive that anything that gives you even a slight edge is worth something. A lot of current pro basketball players are the sons of basketball players.

          • Brother Mouzone

            Betty Shelby, Betty Shelby

  • Amen

    Can we dead the black absentee father meme now? The numbers don’t back it up. Lavar isn’t the last black father in existence. Black dudes are fathers. It happens.

    • MsCee

      I saw that and literally died.

      • Erikashidalgo


        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sc26c:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. Follow this link for more information
        !sc26c:
        ??
        ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs316DigitalWikiGetPaid$97/Hour ????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!sc26c:….,….

    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

      Nah. Let’s hold on to that along with the black men ain’t $h!t trope. They’ve both served us so well.

      • gls

        White folks I know love this article.

        • Isabeljsullivan


          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sb30c:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. Follow this link for more information
          !sb30c:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs320ShopCapitalGetPaid$97/Hour ????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!sb30c:….,….

    • Anthony Deloney

      Exactly! The NBA census numbers suggest that MOST NBA players come from solid middle class backgrounds with stable parents.

      • Brother Mouzone

        A lot of times, they’ll tell a Black dude’s story and say his father “left” when he was 3. The truth is, sometimes his parents divorced and the kid grew up with the mom but dad was still involved with his upbringing. Smdh.

    • BrownKitty289

      I can agree…Black men are doing better as fathers and that should be noted.

  • HouseSublime

    Of course I don’t know Lonzo but I want nothing more for him to come into the league and kill it as a rookie. Forget Lavar, forget the white chick from FS1, forget Whitlock, and all the other nonsense surrounding them. What I want is for him to be successful as a player and for his brand to be successful.

    For none other reason than to show more of these athletes that they CAN be the owners of their own brands. We want black businesses to thrive but some of our biggest money makers are making millions corporations like Nike, Reebok, Adidas.

    Lavar is grating but I can’t help but root for him purely from the fact that he’s trying to put the power in his own family’s (arguably his own) hands.

    • Alessandro De Medici
    • Kylroy

      I’m wondering what will happen when it comes down to the power being in his or his sons’ hands…

    • Hugh Akston

      A lot of the big corporations had someone from the inside branched out into their own…what he could do is say sit at the table first grab some of that pie…learn the ingredients…and add it to your own…if Nike wants to they could sufficicate their company and no one would bat an eye

      • Alessandro De Medici

        People have a lot of myths about how the business world is or how people succeed. It reminds me of something my dad once said, about why it’s foolish to give relationship advice to young people, he said something like this: “No one who ever wanted to play basketball well, ever felt they needed to ask MJ for advice to become him or have what he had…they watched his tapes, emulated him and then executed. Relationships operate, exactly the same way.” You can say the same thing about business too I guess.

        • capwulf

          what?!?

          Your dad gives bad advice.

    • Reemo

      I’m all for supporting black business but does that mean I have to support you if you’re doing dumb stuff?

  • miss t-lee

    As someone who lost their mother at a young age, like Kyrie, I hope that he delivers an open face slap to Lavar ASAP.
    Some things are just off limits, and folks who don’t understand this have to be taught. Preferably with four fingers and a thumb.

    • For real.

      He can say whatever he wants but I will refer back to Run-up v Done-up, United States Supreme Court

      • miss t-lee

        Amen.
        I’d put hands and feet on that ninja.

      • Lucille A Bluth

        IF WE BEEFING, I GOT YOU!

        You made the STL come out of me for a minute with Run Up Get Done UP.

      • Question

        You win the comments section today.

    • Val

      Sorry about your mom, T. You’re right, some things are way off limits but it seems were living in the age of social media where people think anything goes.

      • miss t-lee

        Indeed. Folks do think anything goes now days, which is why you gotta reign em back in.

        • Have too check ’em.

          • miss t-lee

            Yup.
            And you better check em on the first instance, because otherwise they try to run the marathon.
            See: Ball, Lavar

            • He mentioned Bron’s boys and he shut that down really quick.

              • MissRosé

                Yup!! I loved that he did too.

                • The way he did it made sense considering what seems to be Lebron’s stance on fatherhood.

              • miss t-lee

                He sure did.

            • Looking4Treble

              Agreed. Give ’em too much rope, they wanna be cowboys. Nip that in the bud with the quickness.

              • miss t-lee

                Yes, indeedy.

      • Coco

        We can’t even blame social media for Laval being an a$$. He’s not part of the “social media generation”.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        Not enough duels nowadays.

    • Lucille A Bluth

      I’m so sorry about your mother.

      Ball is the prototype of “Loud and Wrong.”

      • miss t-lee

        ‘preciate cha.

    • catgee12
      • miss t-lee

        HA!!!! YASS

    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn
      • miss t-lee

        I love this gif.

    • mikelawry

      “Some things are just off limits…” Does that include questioning people parenting skills and offering unsolicited advice about how to correctly go about it?

      • miss t-lee

        You tell me, Mike.

  • I applaud him for his efforts in getting his sons to where they are and possibly shooting them farther, but his approach and arrogance are all wrong, IMO.

    • capwulf

      Yeah…all he did was raise 3 blue chip athletes, that are perfectly respectable….the monster!

      keep reaching.

      • Did your mom put you back in the basement?

        • capwulf

          Wait….you’re the person people would bother defending?

          Pitiful.

  • siante

    I’m waiting for the day when his children realize their father is a narcissist and has been using them to gain attention for himself – i think there’s gonna be some serious resentment there.

    • Lara

      I agree. My father was similar to this man, it was all about him.

    • MsCee

      I seriously think he needs to remember that no one is ever bigger than “the game” and everyone is fair game when the industry needs someone to make an examples of. LeBron, Jordan , Kobe whoever, they all had to play their role. Don’t ever get to thinking the league can’t/won’t black ball you and ya kids and move on to the next big thing with way less mouf’.

      • cyanic

        Wait, weren’t we disagreeing about Monique a few threads back?

        • MsCee

          Nah, that wasn’t me. I haven’t seen anything about Monique on here.

          • cyanic

            Okay. There wasn’t an official thread on her. I had posted a link to a pro Monique article and the conversation went from there.

            • MsCee

              Oh, do you still have it? I’d like to read it.

              • cyanic
                • MsCee

                  I done started a d a m n slow clap at my desk. I’m here for that point of view. I can dig it.

                  • cyanic

                    Laughs. My attitude is different. Because I come from the artist place I know talent is always at the mercy of the gatekeepers. And no behavior to the contrary of compliance will make as much of hot breath on a window. Mo has clarified her beef with Lee, Tyler, and O. Her beef with all three are valid based on the details she gave. But none of these people can move mountains for you in a business where none of them have the leverage to stop people from hiring you. Mo don’t wanna humble herself for no one but her husband and God she has no reason to complain.

                    • MsCee

                      I can see it from your perspective too. You definitely gotta play the game. As much as it sucks, that’s kinda the only way to win.

                    • Mel

                      Her career started to go wrong when she hired her no experience having husband to be her agent/manager. Not a fan of any of these people BUT her behavior is more damning than anything. No one, not Streep, Hanks or Washinton gets paid for PR tours. You get to bark like a big dog when you have the box office and the critical acclaim to back up/ blunt the bark, she has neither. Sit down and be quiet.

    • Emily Harris

      Right, that’s the part I think lots of folks are missing. His LOOK AT ME game is not about the sons’ promotion as much as it is about his self promotion. Otherwise why even bring up your non NBA worthy-balling azz past. My dad has been to as many of my 3 brothers’ and my sporting events growing up as he could be, which was most of them (even when I was cheer leading, he’d chant along talmbout “One… we are the Falcons, two, we cannot hear you…”), and has always been at the front encouraging, cheering, critiquing, standing up for us… all of it. Always there, and not once when he would brag on us to anyone who would listen did he attribute any of our talents to himself in any fashion. He was a good athlete himself, he ran track and played basketball, but our talents were ours. He majored in theater- when I got lead parts in plays and musicals, not once did he try to pimp out my talents as an extension of his own, and watching US fly was still enough for him- AND I have two brothers that are world class athletes- they have wrestled and done Judo for “Team America”- my brother doing Judo at 34 still competes and my Dad still goes- my brother coaches wrestling and my Dad still goes to watch the kids he coaches wrestle to support my brother.

      • siante

        “not once did he try to pimp out my talents as an extension of his own”

        now THAT’S a father. I love hearing about all the amazing dads on posts like this. Your father was secure enough in himself to let his kids shine. I love it!

  • Mel

    He is living his dreams that he couldn’t achieve through his kids, see Joseph Jackson. That didn’t end well for him OR them.

    • MissRosé

      That’s the vibe I get from him too.

    • Freebird

      You know who Joes kids are though

      • MissRosé

        O I caught that..

      • Mel

        You know who they are but they’re all messed up and they cast Joe aside as soon as humanly possible because he was a)messing with their careers/money b) realized that it was all about HIM, nothing was done for them. They were just the vehicles for him to ride…

More Like This