How can I explain LaVar Ball?
For one, he is the ultimate heel — as we saw earlier this week on “WWE Monday Night Raw.” More accurately, LaVar is the prime example of the ultra-competitive sports dad who by the third inning of your kid’s Little League Baseball game, you want to punch in the face.
LaVar’s personality is without a doubt aggravating and that fact that he is getting airtime only makes the tentacles of Big Baller Brand reach further. He is one of the most annoying sports parents I have ever seen both professionally and on the youth levels, but he is no Thomas Junta.
Junta was the man who beat his son’s hockey coach to death on the ice in front of an entire youth hockey team. I think we can all agree that LaVar has some hostility towards his enemies but none on the level of Junta.
Now that I have humanized LaVar, let’s talk about the big picture with this guy. His son Lonzo Ball was just selected second-overall in the 2017 NBA draft by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. It was a dream come true for a kid who grew up in California watching Shaq and Kobe win championships and a fairytale story that only the NBA could conjure up.
You have to feel good for Lonzo and hope he succeeds at the next level, but what will be interesting is how the rest of the NBA reacts to his father.
It’s fascinating that two months before Lonzo was even drafted into the NBA, his dad was on nationally televised sports talk shows on a weekly basis spewing something ridiculous. The fact that this guy believes that he can beat Michael Jordan one-on-one is laughable, but I guess that is what gets ratings.
The big TV networks are selling out to this man-child because people are willing to watch and listen to his nonsense. That, in turn, is giving his brand a platform to expand on and — well, to put it plainly, makes him an evil genius.
Sports television over the past decade has become more and more unwatchable and LaVar Ball is proving to be the monster that the likes of ESPN and Fox Sports have unknowingly created. They have completely caved to the ratings and forgotten about quality content.
Myself, having a profession in the sports media industry, the lack of creativity and surrender to ratings is frustrating. I remember the days when I would wake up, read the box scores in the NY Post while simultaneously watching the West Coast highlights from the night prior on SportsCenter.
Now I find myself surfing the internet for the highlights I want, which isn’t the worst thing in the world but I would much rather have it the way it used to be.
The moral of this LaVar Ball story that is continuing to unfold in front of us is that sports broadcasting giants should not forget what made them a giant in the first place.