Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball came into the league with more hype than just about any rookie in recent memory, in part thanks to his attention-grabbing dad, LaVar, but is that holding him back?
There were concerns that LaVar’s boasts, like claiming Lonzo is better than Stephen Curry while still at UCLA, would cause opposing NBA players to go after Lonzo on the court, and that appears to be happening.
L.A. Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley seemed to have a little extra motivation defending Lonzo on opening night, and Jamal Murray of the Nuggets infamously dribbled around him as the game ended just to rub it in after getting the better of the Lakers.
New York Knicks center Enes Kanter recently told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that he believes LaVar is putting too much pressure and a target on Lonzo:
“He has the potential to be a really good player. But I feel like his dad is putting too much pressure on him. That’s why whoever plays against him just wants to kill him, just wants to beat him on that court, just because his dad is talking all that crazy stuff,” Knicks center Enes Kanter told the Daily News. “If he leaves him alone, I think it’s going to better for the kid because it’s not going to be that much pressure. That’s why I feel like he just needs to leave him alone and play his game.”
To his credit, Lonzo appears to be handling the pressure very well, especially considering the fact that he is barely 20 years old. Even if opposing players are targeting him, Lonzo keeps his cool and stays focused on the floor.
Off the court, he comes across as well-spoken and genuine, and consistently relays his belief that the team comes before his own personal accolades. If opponents are getting under his skin, he isn’t showing it.
As for Kanter’s assertion that Lonzo will be better off if LaVar stops making outlandish statements, it appears unlikely that will happen anytime soon. Even if the Lakers called for a meeting with the boisterous personality.
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