I am a man of strong opinion. I personally like to think my opinions are rooted in some sort of fact or are at least calculated based on a viable sample size of information. Ironically, being one of strong opinion, I am often faced with strong rebuttal that forces me to make sure I believe what I said that I believe. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong. Even when partially wrong, my stance needs to be reevaluated.
Thus is the case with Lavar Ball. At the onset of his infamy, I couldn’t stand his approach. I wanted him to simply shut up and let his kid play. I felt he was heaping immense amounts of unnecessary pressure on his sons. I viewed Lavar Ball in the same light that I viewed the washed up dad dressed in baggy jean shorts, a hat turned sideways, and a cell phone clipped to his belt at a youth league game; that one dad that’s yelling at the refs, coach and little kids from the stands as he lives his life vicariously through his son. Meanwhile, he never played any sport at any level in his life. Yeah, that guy.
Unfortunately, my disdain for Lavar started to skew my perspective of his sons. I projected my annoyance towards them. I didn’t want to, but maybe I subconsciously thought if the Ball brothers didn’t do well, the buzzer would finally go off on Lavar Ball’s 15 minutes of fame – which I thought was absolutely ridiculous.
I resented media outlets for giving this person a platform to display what I perceived to be his foolishness to the masses. I abhorred every update on the sports ticker informing us of what Lavar said. Then, the shoes became the last straw that broke the dam of what had admittedly turned into Ball hate. At the time, I considered the decision to turn down the renowned sneaker brands due to some pipe dream of a partnering venture for an unattainable billion-dollar payday for his Big Baller Brand. I even previously wrote extensively about my opinion of the ZO2. I don’t like them, period; in fact, I think the shoe didn’t perform well, and that’s what led to serendipitous marketing during the Vegas Summer League with Lonzo switching shoes.
Though my opinion on the ZO2 remains, I have begun to switch sides on Lavar Ball. I am starting to get it. The more I found out about Lavar, the more I understood the alleged antics. It’s difficult to raise a child in this day and age. As a man that is having my first son soon, I, too, am starting to feel a bit of the anxiety that comes with rearing a man in this society. Lavar has three sons. All of whom will have attended an esteemed college without having to take out a loan or tap into the family’s savings to do so. That within itself is enough to make any father proud. There has not been news of any of the Ball brothers being in trouble or even compromising situations despite the massive amount of attention and fame the family has garnered.
Does Lavar like attention? Yes. Does he say things he probably shouldn’t say? Maybe. Is he an absentee father? That question is answered with a resounding “NO.” The fact that he is present is what caused my shift in thought. So many athletes have the story of growing up in a single parent home and having to fight their way through impoverished upbringings and dangerous neighborhoods. Lavar’s boys grew up in the suburbs of Chino Hills. He cooked breakfast for his boys every morning. His loud voice and being interviewed on the sidelines of their games illuminated an important fact: he was there.
The Ball boys and many others may not agree with all of his tactics, but they believe in him. You can tell. Many have questioned why Lonzo doesn’t check his father. Any young man with his father or father figure in his life knows that is the very first man you aspired to be like. Lavar’s boisterous personality takes up the slack for Lonzo’s more reserved approach. That over-the-top confidence in his “boys” has allowed those young men to have confidence in themselves.
There is something to be said for Lavar being the head of the Ball empire. He put himself out there to be ridiculed, dissected and judged by people who know nothing about him. People who don’t know that he trains local kids AND feeds them breakfast that he cooks. Lavar has increased his family net worth exponentially since he first thrusted himself into the spotlight during Lonzo’s stop at UCLA. He takes care of his ailing wife, raises his boys his way and looks out for the kids in the community. Most importantly, however, he’s there. Forget the WWE appearance; forget the ludicrous claims of being able to beat Jordan; forget him saying Lonzo is currently better than Steph Curry; forget, even, your thoughts on how he should act. Lavar Ball is a present, proud father. We don’t have to agree with anything he does. One thing that is not up for debate; his sons know that their dad will be there, and he will be himself. That is something to be applauded.
**Note** This is Example 5/5 of our coiski 101: How to Effectively Write Descriptive Articles lesson.