In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers were given the opportunity to add another young and talented player by using the No. 2 overall pick to select Lonzo Ball. However, along with their point guard of the future was his outspoken father, LaVar Ball. Even before his son entered the league, LaVar was already dominating the headlines with his antics and controversial statements.
During the 2017-18 NBA season, LaVar Ball became a major distraction for the Lakers as most people expected. When Lonzo Ball suffered an injury and the Lakers struggled to win games, LaVar blamed the Lakers’ staffs and Coach Luke Walton. Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson tried to talk to LaVar but that didn’t change his behavior.
However, in Lonzo Ball’s second year in the NBA, LaVar Ball has noticeably gone quiet, making most people wonder what happened to the outspoken father of the Lakers young point guard. In an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show(h/t NESN), Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting idea on why the older Ball finally decided to shut his mouth.
“I think what worked was LeBron James. He actually saw a guy who is bigger and more status than (him). He didn’t think Magic Johnson had the current status among the sporting public to stand him down, but LeBron does. And I think LeBron’s presence finally shut up LaVar. And he got scared. He said ‘maybe the Lakers don’t have the guts to trade my son. LeBron’ll sure trade my son, so I better keep my mouth shut.'”
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) October 26, 2018
LeBron James definitely has the power to influence the Lakers to trade Lonzo Ball. However, as of now, it remains unknown if James is really the reason why LaVar Ball decided to temporarily leave the spotlight. Still, his absence proves to be beneficial for his son and the Lakers.
When Rajon Rondo received a three-game suspension, the Lakers decided to use Lonzo Ball as their starting point guard. Ball didn’t waste the opportunity to prove himself and immediately established an impressive performance on both ends of the floor. In the three games he served as a starter, Ball helped the Lakers grab their first two wins in the 2018-19 NBA season, averaging 12.7 points, 6.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 steals on 53.6 percent shooting from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.
As of now, LeBron James has nothing but praise to LaVar Ball’s son. Per SB Nation, James called Ball a “very gifted” and “very cerebral basketball player.” When he’s playing aggressive, James believes Ball can be a “big-time game-changer” for the Lakers.