Lonzo Ball had a solid NBA debut as last year’s No. 2 pick in the annual rookie draft, as he was named to the league’s All-Rookie Second Team. As he didn’t have the perfect rookie season, mostly on account of his struggles to score and shoot consistently, the 20-year-old UCLA product has his fair share of detractors. According to his father, Big Baller Brand CEO LaVar Ball, those detractors include none other than Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who allegedly isn’t much of a fan of the young point guard.
In an appearance earlier this week on the Sauce and Shram Show, LaVar Ball discussed a number of topics in depth, including the supposed dislike Bryant has for the oldest of his three basketball-playing sons. According to the older Ball, the reason behind Kobe’s apparent lack of appreciation for Lonzo’s talents is simple: Lonzo grew up idolizing recent Lakers acquisition LeBron James more than he idolized Bryant.
“That’s why Kobe doesn’t like him that much. Because he said, ‘I like LeBron.’ LeBron’s always been his guy, though,” LaVar Ball said, as quoted by Lakers Nation.
A report from Yahoo Sports noted that LaVar’s comments were made after Kobe Bryant asked Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum’s trainer, Drew Hanlen, why his former team drafted Lonzo Ball instead of the former Duke forward. The question was asked after Hanlen reportedly showed Bryant a clip of his charge’s “patented Kobe moves” and seemed to suggest that the Lakers should have gone for the player who is most similar to their last marquee superstar.
“That is basically the same thing as Lonzo saying he likes LeBron because they share a court vision that isn’t necessarily the same scoring approach that Kobe took,” opined Yahoo Sports‘ Ben Rohrbach.
“As far as we can tell, nobody dislikes anybody else in these discussions about basketball preferences.”
As noted over the weekend by the Inquisitr, Kobe Bryant’s inquiry about Lonzo Ball might not be an outright sign that he dislikes the incoming second-year star, or doesn’t believe in his potential. However, USA Today’sLonzo Wire wrote that it is possible that the 39-year-old legend believes Tatum has more superstar potential than Ball does, especially with their similar playing style on offense in mind.
Based on their rookie numbers, Tatum was the better scorer and shooter in his first pro season, averaging 13.9 points and shooting 47.5 percent from the field, while Ball had the better all-around numbers, as he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals, but shot just 36 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from the free throw line.