Why people have LaVar Ball all wrong

John Martin
March 14, 2017 - 7:53 pm

© Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports


There's been a ton of discussion about LaVar Ball and how he says anything to any hot mic and how he’s hurting his kids. Of note: He said Lonzo Ball is better than Steph Curry, he said he wants a billion-dollar shoe deal for his kids, he says he would’ve beaten Michael Jordan 1-on-1.

It’s time for some real talk.

When you look at LaVar Ball, you might see a loud-mouthed delusional, unrealistic helicopter father who is doing more harm than good to his sons. When I look at LaVar Ball, I see a good father. 

Growing up, my dad was not there. My dad was an alcoholic, he had issues with drugs, and so for the majority of my formative years, he wasn’t there. Most days I had no idea where he was. And that was an incredible void for me. It’s hard to put into words what it’s like, as a young man, to grow up without a father there to guide you, to tell you what’s going on with your mind and your body and to just generally be your friend, to support you, to put you on your ass when you’re wrong, all that. One of the things I wanted so bad as a kid growing up, honest to God, was my dad’s approval. For him to tell me, 'Son, I’m proud of you. I believe in you, what you’re doing, and you can achieve your dreams, however unrealistic they may be.' And that was a real source of pain for me that I carried, honestly, until we mended things in the last four years. 

(Full disclaimer: My dad and I have a good relationship today.)

When I look at this LaVar Ball situation, man, what I would’ve given for that. I obviously don’t know the dynamics of their house. I’ve never met LaVar Ball or said a word to him. But when I read those comments, I see a doting father. A man that believes in his son’s talents. A man that is blindly supportive. And I’m supposed to believe that this is somehow damaging them? Are you kidding me?

We always try and have it both ways in this society, don’t we? We lament when fathers aren’t there for their kids. Be responsible, right? Be in your child's life. But then, when we see a LaVar Ball, publicly endorsing his sons’ talents, we lament that, too. 'Oh, he's taking a grenade to his kid's draft stock,' many will say. So it’s not OK to be an absentee father, but it’s also not OK to be a super supportive and involved father, either. OK. Got it.

I’m not a parent, but when one day I become one, let me tell you what I plan to do. I plan to make that little boy or little girl believe that absolutely anything on this planet is possible, that whatever insane dream or aspiration that pops into their head can be achieved with the right approach, that it can be done. Because, ladies and gentlemen, it can be done. Donald Trump is president. Anything is possible.

LaVar Ball isn't damaging his children; he's actively and presently supporting them for the world to see and hear. They're lucky to have him.

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