LaVar Ball addressed his Big Ballers during their game against the Compton Magic.
USA TODAY Sports
ORANGE, Calif. — Coach LaVar Ball took it on the chin Saturday.
Ball’s AAU basketball team — the Big Ballers, which feature his son LaMelo, a high school star from Chino Hills — lost 109-57 to the Compton Magic. And the Compton Magic did something almost unthinkable — they silenced Ball.
Not for long, mind you, but for all to see inside a boisterous Orange Lutheran High School at the Magic Memorial Day Festival in Southern California.
When one of the Magic’s players scored on a thunderous dunk to put Compton ahead by 50 points the crowd erupted, and Ball, who’d been talking almost non-stop since tipoff, could only grin.
A few minutes later, Ball opened his mouth again and told one of his players, “This ain’t nothing but entertainment. You want to know what I’m going to do when I get out of here? I’m going to get a burger, lay down and take a nap.’’
Timmy Allen, who heckled Ball while running up and down the court at times Saturday while shutting down LaMelo, made sure to catch Ball’s attention after the crowd-pleasing dunk that put Compton ahead 74-24.
“I don’t like to back down to anybody, no matter who you are and LaVar is nobody different,’’ Allen told USA TODAY Sports. “So I said some stuff back.’’
Among the words Allen directed at Ball: “Big Baller, what?”
Earlier in the game, Ball had shouted that players such as Allen couldn’t guard LaMelo, who scored 92 points during a high school game last season but on Saturday managed only 15 points.
LaVar Ball also worked the referees, protested fouls called against his players and told one of the referees, “Nobody’s here to see you. Nobody’s here to see you.’’
Darin Graham, the Magic’s coach, said it was easy to motivate his team before Ball’s trash talk.
“They were already amped for this,’’ Graham said. “It didn’t really take much to get these guys hyped up.’’
With NBA star James Harden on hand to watch, the Big Ballers drew attention as soon as they arrived. Lonzo Ball, the former UCLA star expected to be among the top three picks in the NBA draft, arrived wearing Nikes rather than his signature shoes that LaVar is selling for $495 apiece. But before Lonzo entered the gym, he slipped into some Big Baller sandals — like the ones his dad wore.
In addition to the sandals, LaVar wore a T-shirt with the slogan “Stay in Yo Lane’’ and cargo shorts. It suited his casual, albeit loud, style. As his team fell behind 19-2, he substituted liberally and used profanity almost as liberally while barking at his overmatched players.
Though he was silenced by the one thunderous dunk, LaVar Ball kept up the almost non-stop chatter.
When the referees told the timer to keep the clock running after the Big Ballers had fallen behind by 50 points, Ball looked at the timer and said, “Stop the clock, homey. I know you’re trying to get out of here.’’
He referred the referee who wanted the clock to run a “peon.’’
The Magic had more than a dozen dunks, and LaVar looked irritated when the crowd buzzed after a near-miss caromed off the rim.
“That’s the new era,’’ he said. “All you got to do is attempt a dunk and everybody goes, ‘Ahhhh.’ ”
Soon the game was over, but the burger and nap would have to wait. After meeting with this players, LaVar Ball posed for photos for about 15 minutes and, before rejoining the deflated Big Ballers, he told one of his fans, “It’s all entertainment.’’