It only took one game into the Los Angeles Lakers season for LaVar Ball to take shots at one of Lonzo Ball’s opponents in the media.
Following the Lakers’ 108-92 loss to the LA Clippers in which Patrick Beverley made life difficult on Lonzo and bragged about it, LaVar got defensive about the defensive specialist, and Ohm Youngmisuk and Marc J. Spears of ESPN were there to capture it, via ESPN:
Who is Patrick Beverley? He played all last year and nobody said nothing about him. Now we are looking at your first game. Why? Because Lonzo’s name is attached to it.
“So you got to be [all hard],” Ball added, as he slapped his fists together. “Let’s see what you do the next five games, if you are going to be pumped up toward everybody like that and go back to your 0-for-5 shooting and your two or three rebounds. Nobody is going to care about you. But you put my son’s name in it, and you put my name in it, now you got some action and you got some people talking…
LaVar also said that Beverley looked up at him in the stands in the middle of the game to get a reaction out of him:
“You ain’t got to say it by name because I saw the way he looked at me when he was on the side of the bench,” he said. “He was going to see if I can get eye contact. I just looked at him like I looked right past him because he’s nobody. You talking to Big Baller… One game. OK, you still don’t have your own shoe, you are still not your own boss.”
The elder Ball has been outspoken since long before his son was drafted by the Lakers, and even if some probably didn’t expect it right after the first game, it was only a matter of time before he went one of Lonzo’s opponents in the press.
LaVar seems to be well aware of what his “brand” and “role” are, so to speak. While Lonzo is quiet, and not apt to say anything particularly controversial, his father is known for firing off brash quotes like these ones that get people talking in the same way he makes fun of Beverley for not getting talked about when he’s playing against anyone other than Lonzo.
It’s been marketing genius so far for the family’s Big Baller Brand, giving them tons of free advertisements and far more name recognition then they’d have otherwise.
The flip side of that attention is that it led to Beverley seeming to take particular joy in roughing Ball up, pushing him to the ground and generally sticking inside the rookie’s jersey for most of the game, something he says other opponents may do as well this season. That may be the case if LaVar continues to blast them for doing so whenever Lonzo underwhelms against such pressure and physicality like he did in his debut against Beverley.
The good news for the Lakers is that Lonzo seems used to all of this and says he isn’t going to let all the distractions or rough treatment phase him. As long as he doesn’t, his father can continue to fight with all the players he wants through reporters’ articles, podcasts and Twitter accounts.