May 16--It lasted longer than it should have, but LaVar Ball's time in the spotlight has finally come to an end.
On Tuesday night, the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery took place in Chicago. And with the Los Angeles Lakers currently owning the 25th and 47th picks in next month's draft, there was no need for the team to have a representative there.
Besides, even if the Lakers were a lottery team, that honor would have probably gone to Magic Johnson, the team's president of basketball operations, or Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles' unheralded first-round pick in last summer's draft who was this past season's second-leading rookie scorer.
Meaning that Lonzo Ball wouldn't have been around, and lucky for us, neither would LaVar.
On Monday, 2019 five-star prospect Onyeka Okongwu announced that he was committing to play basketball at USC. And for sports fans outside of those that cheer for the Trojans, the news didn't mean much.
However, Okongwu attends Chino Hills High School and used to play with LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. But, that was before LiAngelo went off to UCLA and got suspended for shoplifting on a team trip to China, and before LaVar decided to homeschool LaMelo because he didn't like the new coach at the school, which is how both of his youngest sons eventually wound up playing in Lithuania.
And realizing that Okongwu chose the school that is UCLA's biggest rival and the place where LaVar tried, and failed, to start a dynasty with his sons is hilarious.
"(Chino Hills head coach Dennis Latimore) came in with his own mindset. Like he was gonna change the whole program. I told him, 'We lost three games in three years. C'mon, man. What are you bringing to the table?" LaVar reportedly said about Latimore.
"Everybody knows when they take that job, they gotta deal with me," Lavar continued. "Who do they think built the program? Nobody knows about Chino Hills if the Ball boys ain't there."
Is that so?
Latimore and Okongwu won a Division I state championship in March without any of Lavar's sons on the roster.
"That's what team basketball is about," Latimore told the Los Angeles Times about his players responding to Okongwu's absence late in the championship game due to fouling out. Because despite Okongwu's stat line of 27 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five blocks, it was a team effort that returned a state title back to Chino Hills, not the Ball family.
Last month, LaVar's three-month experiment of having LiAngelo and LaMelo play for a low-level team in an inferior Lithuania league came to an uneventful end.
"The third month was kind of sad," Lithuanian basketball reporter Donatas Urbonas told USA Today.
"I don't know if you saw, but during the games that we broadcasted on Facebook, you could tell that there wasn't many people in the stands. Also, the Facebook numbers decreased a lot. Comparing to the first games where we had more than 100,000 people watching, and then in the end, it was like 5 or 6,000 people. It was a picture of the overall attention in Lithuania. We got bored, people got bored. Mostly because we saw that LaMelo can't perform at the pro level yet, and most of the people were irritated with the LaVar and Coach (Virginijus) Seskus stuff that hurt the team. Also, some of the players had a bad approach to LaMelo and LiAngelo, so these inside conflicts were damaging to the overall image in Lithuania."
Earlier this month, it was announced that LaMelo would join LaVar's Junior Basketball Association (JBA) that's supposed to start next month, serving as a league that will pay graduating high school seniors anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 a month to play instead of opting for college basketball.
But according to a report by SB Nation, LaVar has struck out whenever he's tried to recruit any of the top players in the 2018 class to join his league. Not one top recruit has signed on.
Two weeks ago, it was announced that LiAngelo would not be one of the 69 players invited to this week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
And last week, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones revealed that it took a year for him to receive the $495 Big Baller Brand shoes Lavar Ball peddles that he purchased 12 months prior.
"I'm not one to complain, but these, um, just got here," Jones said in a video to TMZ Sports. "I bought these a year ago. They just got here."
According to reports, the Better Business Bureau is taking aim at Big Baller Brand, issuing a warning to consumers, slapping the company with an "F" rating after it received over 30 complaints about "unfilled and erroneous orders."
Whatever LaVar's hands touch turns to mold.
In his time in the spotlight, LaVar Ball showed us that he was an ignorant misogynist whose big mouth and love of fame overshadowed his good intentions that usually floundered due to his lack of execution.
In an instant, he could go from being a confident, loving, and supportive father, to an overbearing and loud-mouthed repulsive jerk.
Some loved it, but it worked my last nerves.
The successes or failures that Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo achieve on a basketball court will ultimately be the barometer for how history will remember their father.
And while LaVar Ball will be a chapter in the book of basketball that must be included, it's one that will likely last too long.
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