Public opinion is divided on LaVar Ball. On the one hand, he’s clearly a dedicated father who’s raising three talented sons. On the other hand, OH MY GOD SHUT UP!
The outspoken patriarch of the Ball family has made a habit of boasting to anyone who will listen — which is apparently everybody — stating that he could have beaten Michael Jordan 1-on-1 in his heyday and that his son Lonzo, a projected top-three pick in next year’s NBA draft, is better than two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry.
Those outlandish statements are just the tip of the iceberg that is LaVar’s rhetoric. He’s also embroiled in public battles with Charles Barkley and LeBron James, has taken shots at Magic Johnson, and is looking for a billion-dollar shoe deal for his kids.
In the world of LaVar, there seems to be only one certainty: the next thing out of his mouth is going to be more ludicrous than the last.
Hopefully his bravado doesn’t come back to bite his sons. Lonzo is the kind of pre-eminent talent that will be able to rise above the noise. Will the same hold for the younger two, LiAngelo and LaMelo?
As we do here, Bubs, Perry, and I have set the odds on all things Big Baller. Will LaVar get to showcase his geriatric skills against Barkley and Jordan? Will the trio of Ball kids become NBA greats? Just how much is their eventual shoe deal actually going to be worth? Answers, of a sort, are below.
Odds LaVar Ball plays Barkley 1-on-1: 7/2
I get that LaVar Ball has been about as annoying as NBA teams resting their players, but Charles Barkley should have kept his mouth shut instead of upping the ante by challenging LaVar to a game of 1-on-1. There is absolutely no way Sir Charles can win here. This is like fighting your younger sibling. If you win, you don’t get any credit because you should have beat them. But if you lose, you’ll never ever hear the end of it.
Sure, there may be a lesson learned, but Ball doesn’t seem like the kind of person who is going to stop agitating us all with his absurd proclamations. Not to mention, Barkley doesn’t really look to be in game-shape right now. He better hope Ball doesn’t take him up on it. – PP
Odds LaVar Ball plays Jordan 1-on-1: 99/1
The GOAT is way above this nonsense. Jordan will let history speak for itself. – PP
Odds LaVar Ball would score a point versus either: 2/3
Like I said, Barkley is carrying a few extra pounds, and wasn’t the best defender, anyways. If Ball gets a chance on offense, I would be a little shocked if he doesn’t get past Barkley for at least one bucket.
Jordan would never let it happen, though. – PP
Odds to be the next NBA star LaVar Ball calls out
Wilt Chamberlain: 9/1
Bill Russell: 10/1
Jerry West: 10/1
Russell Westbrook: 12/1
James Harden: 12/1
Kevin Durant: 15/1
Odds any of the Ball sons win an NCAA title: 7/1
They’ll all current or future UCLA Bruins. Good program, sure, but this year is the best chance for a Ball to get a win. UCLA isn’t going to be stronger than this for a while. In addition to losing Lonzo, Isaac Hamilton, Bryce Alford, and TJ Leaf are all leaving after this year. And coach Steve Alford is likely out the door.
Plus, Lonzo is the best of the three. – BM
Odds any of the Ball sons become NBA All-Stars: 1/2
In the history of the league, only 483 players have ever suited up for an All-Star Game. Sure, there’s a few odd names on that list (what’s up, Mehmet Okur?) but overall, it’s a tough list to crack.Think of all the great guards in the league right now: guys like C.J. McCollum and Devin Booker aren’t even close to making the team yet. So while Baron Davis proclaimed Lonzo a future All-Star, it won’t be the near future. Maybe the 2024 team? – BM
Odds any of the Ball sons win an NBA title: 5/4
Being that they’re just high schoolers that can’t play defense, scouts are still torn on the ceiling of LaMelo and … the other one. So it’s unclear what roles they could have, or if they’ll even make the NBA. (More on this below.) But perhaps they end up on the bench of a team like the Spurs and just coast to a title. Could you imagine Gregg Popovich getting asked about stupid LaVar Ball quotes once a week? Man, that’d be hilarious.
As for Lonzo, he could end up on a title contender right away should Boston end up with a top-two pick. Even if he has to go to terrible Orlando or Phoenix, he can always just latch onto a contender in the twilight of his career. That’s the NBA norm now. – BM
Odds none of the Ball sons get drafted: 1,000/1
Lonzo is a virtual lock to go in the top-three this year. The only thing that could prevent that at this point is a catastrophic injury. As a basketball fan — and a human — I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen. He’s as fun to watch as his dad is painful to listen to, funky shooting style and all. – AP
Over/Under draft position for Lonzo Ball: no. 2 overall
Around mid-season, Markelle Fultz was the consensus no. 1. He still is, but Lonzo has closed the gap. Fultz is in the clubhouse (his Washington Huskies didn’t make the tourney). Lonzo is still impressing on the national stage and can keep his stock rising when the Bruins face Kentucky in the bluest of Sweet 16 bloodbaths. – AP
Odds Lonzo Ball wins the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year award: 10/1TonyTheTiger [http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/4.0]
Not only is this being hailed as the most loaded draft class of the decade, but the first-overall pick from last season, Ben Simmons, will also be in the mix. It’s as wide-open a race as you’ll ever see … from over a year out anyways. – BM
Odds LaMelo Ball gets drafted: 1/1
While he’s listed as a point guard, the youngest Ball is not a distributer like his eldest brother. He’s an ultra-talented scorer who makes sure he gets his. Remember when he put up 92 points in a high-school game this year … as a sophomore? He took over 60 shots in that one.
A lot can and will happen between now and his college days. But I have a hunch his dad will make sure he uses that time to develop his game. – AP
Odds LiAngelo Ball gets drafted: 49/1
“Jello,” the middle child, will be a freshman at UCLA next year. He wasn’t a top-100 recruit, though, and he won’t be a starter in his first season in all likelihood. He’s not a one-and-done talent like his older brother and, unless his game comes a long way over the next few years, the Association isn’t going to come calling. (To be clear, these are odds to be drafted into the NBA, not whatever league LaVar starts for the sole purpose of having LiAngelo go first overall.)
Go ahead and feel bad for Jello. Being the least talented son in this family has to be a tough existence. – AP
Over under number of seasons in the NBA for …
Lonzo Ball: 11.5 years
LaMelo Ball: 3.5 years
LiAngelo Ball: 0.5 years
The average career is just under five years long, according to BusinessInsider circa 2013. Lonzo isn’t going to be your average NBAer, and he doesn’t have a concerning injury history. Expect him to be balling for over a decade.
As for LaMelo, if you look at other players who have been ranked in the 12-18 range of their recruiting classes, “average NBA players” (or worse) is exactly what you tend to find, see: Cory Joseph, Dion Waiters (2010); Cody Zeller, Tony Wroten (2011); Sam Dekker, Glenn Robinson III (2012). Also see: a bunch of dudes you’ve never heard of because they didn’t make it.
If LiAngelo plays even one game in the NBA, that counts as an over. Smart money’s on the under. – AP
O/U total guaranteed money for Lonzo Ball’s first shoe deal: $25 million
Alright, stop LaVar. No one is going to offer you a $1 billion shoe deal. LeBron James has a lifetime deal with Nike worth $1 billion, but he’s also LeBron James. Last year’s first-overall, pick Ben Simmons, received a five-year, $20 million guaranteed contract from Nike, with bonuses that could push it up to $40 million. And Lonzo isn’t even going first-overall.
You can continue holding out, but from the outside, it doesn’t appear Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas are hurting for star athletes. – PP
Odds the Big Baller brand goes bankrupt before the end of Lonzo ball’s first NBA season: 6/1
How could anyone go bankrupt when you’re selling shirts with like a 6,000-percent markup? Throw in an $18-per-month website and free promotion (since anytime LaVar opens his mouth ESPN comes running) and their total operating costs are probably less than I spend yearly on beer, which says a lot about one, or both of us. – BM
Odds the Ball sons fire LaVar from the Big Baller brand: 80/1
Admittedly I don’t know the corporate structure, but I would like to think the kids are too busy worrying about basketball to take control of what is essentially that guy at tailgates who sells hilarious t-shirts out of the back of his trunk. – BM