Thanks to dad, LiAngelo didn’t make the NBA

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There’s really not much of a surprise LiAngelo Ball didn’t hear his name called on  draft night. It shouldn’t come as a shock to many that he was left off an NBA team, in large part because no one wanted any parts of him.

Thanks a lot, LaVar Ball. Blame the boastful, know-it-all father of three sons, whose basketball careers are in tatters. Blame him for pressuring his middle son to withdraw from UCLA weeks after the shoplifting suspension. Blame him for foolishly pulling his youngest son, LaMelo out of high school. Blame him for sending them overseas to play for the Lithuanian basketball league instead of encouraging them to stay in school.

And blame him for a botched master plan that caused irreparable harm to his children’s draft status. It was all part of a failed strategy that backfired in LaVar’s face when his son, LiAngelo wasn’t picked in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

There are still questions that lie ahead of LaVar’s two sons, especially now that the middle child went undrafted. Unlike the eldest son, Lonzo, the other two boys are guilty by association, as their dad’s antics may have ruined their futures. His mouth is always open and very seldom does it closes, for he has been remarkably outspoken and indiscreet about his sons. Not even the Lakers opened their doors or invited LiAngelo to participate in the NBA Summer League.

For Magic and his team, one Ball is good enough. More Balls in the family, more problems. And as free agency looms, now it’s just a vital time for the Lakers front office to vie for marquee players like LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Please note that LaVar’s endless comments could easily hinder the Lakers’ chances of attracting key free agents.

So where do things stand momentarily? For now, either way, the Lakers are still favorites to go all in for top free agents come July 1. The offseason is going to be long and busy for the Lakers, who’ll do everything possible to land LeBron, Kawhi and George. But when there’s an insane dad shouting at Luke Walton from the sidelines and attempting to coach his son, they’ll have a hard time winning over free agents. Because, if LaVar publicly attacked the coaching staff and a world-class franchise operated by a basketball legend, he’d certainly find fault with potentially James and George if the season goes awry.

Anybody but Lonzo was to blame for the Lakers’ irrefutable disasters last season. That said, one can be almost certain that he has already pinned the blame on all 30 NBA teams for not choosing LiAngelo, whose undeveloped game is part of the problem—not the league itself.

Oh, and yeah, never mind that LaVar’s troubled son was one of three UCLA players arrested in China for stealing a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses. Never mind that LiAngelo shot 24.3 percent from three-point range in Lithuania and averaged fewer than 13 points in just 14 games. Blame the Chinese authorities, the UCLA basketball program and Lithuania for LiAngelo’s misadventures?

Right now, LaVar is the only one who is awfully quiet after the ball didn’t bounce in the Big Baller court. Not long ago, he resorted to threats but the Lakers felt no trepidation that stemmed from his delusional ultimatum. He says Lonzo will leave the Lakers if they don’t sign his brothers to play in L.A.

Tired of the circus LaVar has created, the Lakers denied him of his family wishes. The hope is that the drama comes to pass, that this persistent headache goes away. The hope is that his boys pull away from him and become their own men. The real hope is that LaVar lets his kids play and make their own life choices.

The Lakers remain confident in their new direction as their young point guard is pivotal for the team’s development. But they could decide to trade him, especially if his presence is an impediment to signing free agents.

For Lonzo to drop a diss track roasting his own teammate Kyle Kuzma, this could act as a deterrent to the Lakers. Or the fact that his dad’s marketing devolved into an unnecessary soap opera that could as well make it that much more difficult to add talent.

What he’s doing is exploiting his children for money. What he’s doing, sadly, is sabotaging his three boys by raising them to be commodities instead of men and by not allowing them to have a voice or mind of their own. But as much as LaVar tries to make it happen, LiAngelo might not ever get an opportunity to live out his dream as a pro athlete.

Some honestly felt he was a genius to pull his sons out of school. But he’s the one who looks like a fool and messed up his son’s trajectory.

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Jonathan Mathis as known as The Sports Judge is the founder of SoCalChronicle. He is a professional Sports writer, contributor, Youtuber, podcaster @ ASAP Network, and co-host of Gonzo & The Judge Sports Talk. Follow the SportsJudge@


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