The Ball family was represented well this past weekend as youngest star LaMelo Ball put on a scoring show at the Adidas Championships. His older brother and the new face of the Los Angeles Lakers, Lonzo Ball, was watching from the stands, while father LaVar Ball roamed the sidelines to coach his son’s team. Unfortunately, despite the scoring burst from LaMelo, his Big Ballers team was on the losing side of things, but it’s clear that LaMelo could be yet another emerging young star from the Ball family. Could he possibly become an even bigger star than his brother, or will his father hold him down?
A report from ESPN on Saturday indicated that LaMelo Ball was the star of the show, scoring 56 points for the Big Ballers. He had had 24 in the first half and then went off for another 32 to finish his scoring run in the second. That included a total of nine 3-point shots made for the young star in the making. His team came up a bit short in their quest to capture the Adidas Championship though as Team Lillard bested them in the finals, 116-95. LaMelo finished the tournament with averages of 33.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while shooting at a rate of 37 percent from the floor.
This past week certainly saw the Ball family on full display at the Las Vegas event. The No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, Lonzo Ball, watched from the sidelines as his brother continued to rack up points, which is much different than Lonzo’s game, so far. In addition to that, their father LaVar Ball was involved in several incidents over the past week including a controversial series of technicals and a verbal exchange with a ref that led to her replacement and eventually led to the game being forfeited once LaVar was tossed. LaVar also participated in some verbal sparring through media with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal who dropped a diss track to him.
While LaVar’s antics certainly have drawing power for maybe the wrong reasons, there was also good publicity that came out of the past week for basketball. A heralded matchup took place between two of high school’s top stars in the country. On Wednesday, the second-ranked senior high school player Zion Williamson and his team faced LaMelo Ball and the Big Ballers. It led to a sold out game at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas with people actually getting turned away due to potential fire code infractions.
The game reportedly drew a big live crowd and a big Facebook live viewing with hundreds of thousands watching on the social media platform’s video stream. Even NBA stars were interested in the outcome as it was reported that pro players Damian Lillard, Eric Gordon, and Andrew Wiggins were all there watching, as well as Lonzo Ball. It was even said that Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James showed up but was turned away due to the massive crowd.
The game impressed many of those in attendance including the NBA stars, college coaches, and fans. Zion Williamson’s SC Supreme captured the victory 104-92 over Big Baller Brand. LaMelo finished with 31 points while Zion had a respectable 28. As LA Times noted, LaVar Ball suggested they “get a bigger venue” because “When the Big Baller Brand come to town, better get something big.” That doesn’t seem quite as controversial as LaVar’s comments suggesting the female referee that was replaced in a game wasn’t qualified for the job.
There are plenty of people who believe LaVar could take away from his sons’ careers, but it seems so far Lonzo Ball is in capable hands with Magic Johnson and the new-look Lakers organization. LaMelo Ball could be even more of a star than his two brothers, but he’ll be playing at the lower level of basketball for just a bit longer and will need to endure the constant attention his father brings to him.
[Featured Image by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images]