The short answer, indisputably, is that LaVar Ball is a clown. But for LeBron James, the unfortunate reality is that the prospective heirs to King James will inevitably be compared to their father, no matter how much LeBron himself tries to delay it.
In case you missed it, the babbling Ball was at it again recently, suggesting that LeBron’s children have the deck stacked against them, that the majority of NBA stars have had fathers who weren’t as good as they are. That’s the short version. And so, because LaVar wasn’t as good as LeBron, Lonzo Ball has a far better chance of being a superstar than either LeBron James Jr. (who is 12) or Bryce Maximus James (9). As LaVar so tactlessly put it: “You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because they [society] are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad.’ And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?’ And then they are going to be like, ‘Aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
So you got that?
LaVar Ball actually helped his kids in the long run because he wasn’t a star.
What a good dad.
Pathetic? You bet it is, especially when added to the long list of downright stupid things Ball has said in recent weeks and months, a stream of spew that places him first on the list of fathers who are living vicariously through their children. A shrink would have a field day with this guy. Of course, those who seek a cure need to want the help, and Ball seems far more interested in celebrating his role in the life of his kids than in actually helping them be them.
I mean, no one should really tell anyone else how to raise their kids.
But he opened the door.
As for James? Sorry LeBron, but fame and greatness come with certain tradeoffs. Nobody ever said they were all fair. James’ desire to protect his own kids — particularly from an overzealous dad himself — is noble. And while James’ kids certainly don’t need the pressure of living up to their father’s name now, they’re going to face it at some point. The taunting in their teenage years will be insufferable — if it isn’t already. And LeBron will need a better long-term plan than advising outsiders to watch their mouths, which is tantamount to a threat.
Does Ball deserve it? You bet he does, at least on some level. But LeBron ultimately isn’t doing anyone a service by trying to protect his kids from a loudmouth donkey, because we all know the world is filled with them.
We can’t eliminate the jerks, LeBron. We can only teach our kids how to deal with them, how to respond, how to develop the mental toughness required to face societal pressure, however that manifests itself.
And so yes, LaVar Ball is insufferable. Heaven help the NBA team that ends up with Lonzo Ball on its roster next season, especially since LaVar is already on record as saying that his son wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The more LaVar opens his mouth, the more he sounds like a dad who has a vendetta against the sports world that didn’t recognize his talent, the world that somehow robbed him of stardom and greatness.
His talking about your kids was a needless cheap shot, LeBron.
But if I were you, I’d get my kids accustomed to it.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.