When it comes to professional sports leagues like the NBA, college players have no say in where they play if they are good enough for the NBA Draft. That makes the statements by the father of UCLA superstar Lonzo Ball troubling. LaVar Ball said in an interview that Lonzo Ball will only play for the Los Angeles Lakers, although he went back on that slightly when speaking to ESPN.
The original statement by Lonzo Ball’s father might make teams – including the Los Angeles Lakers – think twice about drafting Lonzo. There have been cases in the past, such as with John Elway and Eli Manning, where players refuse to play for the teams that drafted them and hurt the entire draft process.
It even happened in the NBA. When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Kobe Bryant, the high school star said he refused to play for the Charlotte Hornets if they chose him in the NBA Draft. While the Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA, there are two teams with worse records in the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns that might want Lonzo Ball.
Of course, the NBA Draft is a very different sort of professional sports draft. They use a lottery so that the team with the worst record is not always the one with the first pick in the draft. That means the Lakers might not even get to pick in the top three picks by the time it rolls around.
So, what did Lonzo Ball’s father say about the Lakers that caused all the controversy? It came in an interview with The Kevin and Mike Show, which is a radio show in Arizona.
“My son will only play for the Lakers.”
It seems cut and dried, especially since it was on a radio show and was in his own words. However, Ball’s father is going back on this and saying that he meant that Lonzo will play for the Lakers one day, even if they are not the team that drafted him.
“I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team. But I’d like him to play for the Lakers because it’s home and I’d love him to learn from Magic (Johnson) He’s the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson.”
One thing that NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, have to worry about is a parent of an athlete with such an outspoken personality. If Ball is willing to talk to radio stations and ESPN about Lonzo, who is a top three prospect, what will he do when Lonzo reaches the NBA?
Ball has already put way too much pressure on his son to become a huge star in the NBA. With players like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Steph Curry, and more, it is hard for even the best college superstars to break out in the big leagues.
However, Ball’s father has made it clear in an interview with TMZ Sports that Lonzo will have no problem becoming a star in the NBA.
“He’s gonna be better than Steph Curry in the NBA… Steph Curry’s pretty good,” he continued. “My son is young, he’s got time to grow. And you only consider him good because he’s won a couple championships.”
With the NBA Draft a dream-come-true for many college athletes, it seems that Lonzo Ball is heading into a tough situation due to something he has no control over – his father’s mouth. Evan Daniels at Scout.com said he has spoken to NBA execs and some have concerns about Ball because of his father.
Lonzo Ball seems like he is trying to distance himself from the comments and just wants to let his talent speak for itself. After UCLA beat Arizona on Saturday, reporters asked him what he thought about his father’s comments concerning the Los Angeles Lakers.
“No, it’s not distracting. I just go out there and play basketball. All I do is go out there and play basketball.”
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]