The LaVar Ball Effect

Is LaVar Ball negatively impacting his sons?


Justin Valentovic , Contributing Writer

In life, a parent wants nothing more than to see their child succeed. LaVar Ball takes that desire one step too far.

LaVar is the father of three sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, all of whom are basketball standouts in Southern California.

With Lonzo becoming a star player at UCLA, LaVar has made many comments referring to his sons’ futures, ultimately putting unneeded pressure on all of them.

Better than Stephen Curry

The first glimpse into LaVar’s insanity was seen at a UCLA basketball game, where he told a reporter that he believed Lonzo was currently better than Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

In an SB Nation article written by Ricky O’Donnell, LaVar said, “I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing. He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s teams right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”

It’s understandable for a parent to have confidence in their child’s abilities, but for LaVar to set an extremely high standard for Lonzo by comparing him to the reigning two-time league MVP in Curry, is foolish.

LaVar’s comment can put an immense amount of pressure on Lonzo, especially if he doesn’t perform at the level that his father believes he can play at.


In college basketball, it’s typical that players who are NBA-ready during their freshman year will play only one season before declaring for the draft.

Following UCLA’s loss in the national tournament, Lonzo declared for the NBA draft, making him a one-and-done player. After seeing his first son’s decision to leave early, LaVar told Andrew Joseph of USA Today in his article that, “All three of my boys are going to be one-and-done.”

This proved to be true when Lonzo declared for the upcoming NBA draft, but to assume that his other sons will do the same is utterly insane. To go into college knowing that they will only play one year is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on them.

What if they need more time in college to develop their skills as a player? What if they sustain an injury that could cost them parts of the season? Then that one-and-done assumption would fail to become a reality. If they are not ready to take the next step, will LaVar coerce them into leaving school even if they are not ready to?

Born to Be a Pro

Many believe that people were born with a specific purpose in life, and LaVar Ball believes that his sons were born to play basketball.

In the same USA Today article written by Andrew Joseph, LaVar said, “These boys were born to go pro. Your mom’s a P.E. teacher, I’m a personal trainer, your last name is Ball. How much more lined up can you be?”

A person’s athletic ability comes from far more than what their parents do for a living or their last name. LaVar fails to realize this as he continues to create the expectation for his sons to go pro because of said reasons.

If they do not play at a high level or fail to even make it to the NBA, the Ball brothers would not have lived up to their father’s unrealistic expectations.

Lonzo the Laker

Lonzo Ball is considered to be one of the top players in the upcoming NBA draft and has the potential to be a top-three pick.

Since Lonzo’s draft stock has risen in recent weeks, LaVar wants him to play for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers, saying in Andrew Joseph’s USA Today article that “My son will only play for the Lakers”.

This can have a direct impact on Lonzo’s professional career. For example, if he is selected by the New York Knicks second overall before the Lakers, will he have Lonzo hold out on signing a contract until he is traded to the Lakers?

It would be a situation similar to that of Eli Manning during the 2004 NFL draft, where he was selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers, made it clear that he did not want to play for them and was then traded to the New York Giants.

Another way this can negatively impact Lonzo’s career is if teams decide not to draft him just because they do not want to deal with LaVar and his antics . If Lonzo is passed over by multiple teams and selected later in the draft, he is losing out on money that higher draft picks make in their rookie contracts.

Lonzo’s career can be directly impacted by his father’s desire for him to play for his hometown team.

Looking into the Future

There is no denying that the Ball brothers are phenomenal basketball players and have the potential to be great NBA players. However, in order for the brothers to be successful at the next level, LaVar should not be making decions about their careers.

There is no problem with a parent pushing their kids hard to succeed in order to reach their full potential, but they shouldn’t be putting additional pressure on them just for the sake of success.

LaVar wants his kids to succeed, but the point has come where he has to let them make their own decisions and let life play out.