Leading into last month’s NBA Draft it seemed pretty apparent that the Los Angeles Lakers would make Lonzo Ball the second overall pick. The worry for some, however, were the constant antics of Lonzo’s father, LaVar.
LaVar Ball had been in the public eye for much of 2017, constantly making news waves with outlandish statements about both himself, and Lonzo. Some wondered if drafting Lonzo was worth dealing with the headache of LaVar.
Of course, the Lakers ultimately selected Ball and one of the deciding factors was when Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka visited the Ball family in Chino Hills. While there Magic says that LaVar revealed to him that his antics were simply marketing according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
“He just said it’s marketing,” Johnson says. “That’s what he had to do to market not only his son but the brand. Before I met him I had already thought that. I already knew what he was doing.”
Some may question LaVar’s marketing strategy, but few can argue that it worked. Lonzo was by far the most talked about and well known draft prospect despite not being the top projected pick. LaVar also put a lot of pressure on his eldest son and he’ll have a target on his back from day one, but Lonzo sounds more than capable of handling it.
For what it’s worth, LaVar also told Magic that he won’t be following Lonzo around, and will focus on training his two other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, as well as the other kids in the neighborhood as he has been doing for some time now.
Whether LaVar truly stays out of the limelight remains to be seen, but he has certainly done his part. Now the pressure will be on Lonzo to produce and show that he can be the transcendent talent that his dad has spoken him up as.
His first chance to show that will be later today as the Lakers kick off the Las Vegas Summer League against the Los Angeles Clippers.