Beyond pressure to help lead the Los Angeles Lakers back to the days when they competed for championships, Lonzo Ball is under an intense microscope that his outspoken father, LaVar, has largely created.
LaVar predicted the Lakers would select his son well prior to the team officially securing the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In retrospect, it was one of LaVar’s more modest claims.
The latest Ball family sagas have included LaVar trading barbs with United States President Donald Trump, stemming from LiAngelo and two of his former UCLA teammates shoplifting from multiple stores in China.
Upon being permitted to return to the United States, the trio of players received an indefinite suspension from the university. That’s now a moot point for LiAngelo, however, as he’s been removed from UCLA.
While many view that as a controversial and incorrect decision, Lonzo explained he’s in agreement with it, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
Lonzo Ball said he thinks LiAngelo leaving UCLA was the right call. “We talked about it as a family. We all came to an agreement that was the best thing for him.”
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) December 7, 2017
While Lonzo completed high school and one year at UCLA, neither of his younger brothers will follow the same path. Well prior to LiAngelo having his time with the Bruins cut short, LaMelo was removed from high school in favor of being home schooled.
In both cases, LaVar has vowed to prepare his sons for the NBA Draft, which will appear to involve them playing overseas.
For all that’s swirled around him off the court, Lonzo, to his credit, has remained focused on what he can control with the Lakers. “There’s not a harder position to learn in this league, there’s not a harder position to play,” head coach Luke Walton said this week.
“It’s got the most responsibility, and I think he’s doing a very good job of handling it. He’s got a lot of off-the-court stuff that most rookies don’t have to worry about.”