Big Baller Mistakes

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LaVar displays a personalized BC Prienu Vytautas jersey. His sons LiAngleo and LaMelo currently play for the Lithuanian team. Photo courtesy The Seattle Times.

While rookie guard Lonzo Ball is putting up 10.2 points and 7.1 rebounds and assists for the Los Angeles Lakers, the rest of the Ball family is struggling to showcase their talent after moving to Lithuania. LaVar Ball may be a media mastermind and even a decent mentor for Lonzo, his eldest son, but it seems the choices he made for the rest of his family may not be in their best interests. LaVar made a mistake—a big one—by moving his younger sons LaMelo, 16, and LiAngelo, 19, overseas to play for BC Prienu Vytautas, a member of the Lithuanian Basketball League.

LaVar’s plan to propel LiAngelo and LaMelo to stardom on the Lakers after their stint with BC Prienu Vytautas might be nothing more than a pipedream. Since the fallout from LiAngelo’s theft charges and subsequent detainment in China, which included a surprising Twitter spat between LaVar and President Trump, the basketball world has heard little from LiAngelo himself. He was pulled out of UCLA to move on to “bigger” things, which apparently include earning $500 a month and posting marginal statistics for BC Prienu Vytautas, while only seeing minutes in low-level exhibition matches. LaVar made an even more drastic decision on the behalf of his 16-year old son LaMelo, pulling him out of high school to join LiAngelo on Prienu Vytautas. LaVar found an odd justification for doing so: disagreeing with LaMelo’s high school coach. It appears as if LaVar’s actions are diminishing the chances his sons have to sign with any NBA team, let alone the Lakers. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman labeled LiAngelo’s chances of an NBA career an “illusion” and harshly criticized LaMelo for his weak defensive capabilities. Moreover, BC Prienu Vytautas has the worst record the league, yet still benches the Ball brothers for most of its actual league games.

For most NBA players, talent, dedication, and environment come together to bring them professional opportunities; however, for the Ball family, this equation falls flat. While LaVar’s obnoxious and over-the-top meddling in his children’s lives may have pushed Lonzo to play with the Lakers, it may be costing his other two sons their careers. LaVar’s influence over his sons’ careers shouldn’t extend to the point that he pulls his sons out of high school and college. LaVar has his share of media coverage in sight, but it seems this time, he simply messed up. In a bid to shape up his sons, LaVar may have inadvertently destroyed their futures and lost the chance to see his three sons share the court on an NBA team.

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