There are lots of opinions on Lonzo Ball’s father, LaVar Ball. Some have applauded LaVar for how much he cares about his sons and for creating his own business, while others have criticized him for trying to use the platform of the Los Angeles Lakers for his own benefit, and potentially tarnishing the brand in the eyes of NBA free agents and fans alike in the process.
LaVar has been much quieter in the press since following his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, to Lithuania to start their professional careers. But it seems hard to believe he’ll stay out of the headlines for long given his oft-repeated goal to get all three of his children on the Lakers’ roster.
Some have theorized that those types of machinations and headline-grabbing behaviors will scare free agents away from the Lakers, but Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant isn’t among them.
During an appearance on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Durant explained he actually has a soft side for LaVar and why his presence might not deter free agents from signing with the Lakers:
“No. … You know why I love LaVar? Because he reminds me of a normal AAU dad. … The media (minds LaVar). … I’ve seen dads like him. I grew up watching dads like LaVar and I’m like, ‘I appreciate what you bring,’ because I wish… Me and my dad are so tight right now, but growing up my dad really didn’t come to games, so I wish I had a dad like that. A lot of players wish they had dads like LaVar. Just being in support. Maybe not going on ESPN or putting the pressure on him like he did Lonzo, but it’s just like LaVar is the prototypical ‘pops’ on the AAU circuit.
“(Expletive) I like him. I like his family. Every time we play the Lakers and I see him I give him a big hug and say, ‘I like what you doing, man. I enjoy it. I just like your personality, I like that you care about the game so much and care about your sons so much.’ That’s what I like. Big Baller Brand? I’m not getting into that, but I like what he’s done.”
Whether Durant is speaking for all the players in the league isn’t really important, because the Lakers just need some of the players around the league to share his mindset.
Durant won’t re-enter free agency for a while, so it probably won’t be him joining the Lakers to break the trend of the team getting spurned by the biggest names in free agency.
But as long as he’s not alone among superstars in thinking LaVar’s presence isn’t that big of a deal, then Lakers’ free agency situation might be even more desirable to players around the league than many think.