LaVar Ball expands on the hype surrounding his three sons and their controversial Big Baller Brand.
USA TODAY Sports
LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, just keeps going.
The elder Ball has verbally jabbed Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan and back-to-back MVP Steph Curry in recent weeks, but now he has a new target: Washington’s Markelle Fultz, another freshman potentially vying to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
The Bruins kicked off their NCAA run Friday night with a convincing 97-80 win over Kent State, and Lonzo, to his credit, hasn’t let the surrounding noise get to him. But Ball’s father seems to have already turned his attention to the NBA.
“Why shouldn’t they (pick Lonzo first)? … If you’ve got a kid who makes everybody better, you mean to tell me you wouldn’t take him over a guy that’s just averaging 40 points and does all this stuff and losing? The key to the game is winning. If you want a winner, you pick my boy,” LaVar told TMZ.
Fultz, whose Washington Huskies didn’t make the tournament, averaged just over 23 points and nearly six rebounds and assists this season. The Huskies were just 9-22 on the season, and Fultz has already announced his intention to go pro. Despite Fultz’s gaudy numbers, Ball’s father, unsurprisingly, continued stumping for his son.
“Look what he did to UCLA. They 15-17 last year. You bring one dude and change the culture, that’s what you want,” he said. “He’s going to go to the Lakers. Watch. The Lakers gonna get that ball, and then they gonna get that Ball.”
Ball, who was limping after falling on his hip Friday late in the first half of a first-round victory vs. Kent State, is doing well, according to UCLA coach Steve Alford.
“He’s great,” Alford said. “I just wanted him to get up. Please get up. It stung him a little bit. It wasn’t a nasty fall watching it on tape. It was a pretty good fall, but he responded well after that. He’s had a great day today, and I think he will be close to 100 percent (Sunday).”
At least one prominent NBA voice said that LaVar isn’t helping his son.
“I don’t think it’s helping his kids,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said to ESPN radio. “I think it’d be better for them it they could just play and have fun and not have to hear that every day, but whatever.”
For what it’s worth, numerous NBA executives aren’t convinced that Lonzo’s dad will have much impact on his draft stock.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Michael Singer on Twitter @msinger.