LaVar Ball: He Is Who We Thought He Was

LaVar Ball: He Is Who We Thought He WasUnlike the talent of his three sons, the merit of LaVar Ball is highly debated. On one hand, some are quick to praise his brash confidence and the dedication he takes to building the careers of his children. Others, in stark contrast, can’t help but lambaste the relentless approach he takes to self-promotion, often accusing him of exploiting the talents of his sons rather than facilitating it. Basically, what some call confidence, others call arrogance, and what some call intensity, others call foolishness. The divide grows with each day, and most are finding themselves on the less-amused side of things.

The tide wasn’t always turned against LaVar, however, as just months ago he was seen as an eccentric sports-dad, albeit with polarizing intensity; ESPN regularly featured him for interviews and even produced a light-hearted parody video that featured the entire Ball family. Nowadays, however, the patience of most has worn thin, and LaVar has become an intolerable nuisance. Any benefit of the doubt afforded to him before was stripped away in the wake of more reported behavior and misplaced comments.

Most recently, LaVar lost favor with many for his antics in an Adidas Summer League game. The incident in question revolves around Ball lobbying for the replacement of a female ref that gave him a technical foul. To the surprise (and dismay) of many, the request was granted by Adidas officials and the ref was swapped out. A short time after, however, Ball was given another foul and subsequently withdrew his team from the court. Adidas back-pedaled in the aftermath, under intense backlash from referee associations and the general public. As for LaVar, countless disapproving articles were written, and charges of misogyny flew wildly.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas, for example, penned an article with the headline “LaVar Ball crossed the line and isn’t worthy of our attention”. Ouch. While the article touched on the familiar charges of misogyny and misconduct, it held a holier-than-thou tone that made many wonder about hypocrisy. For starters, it’s interesting that an article calling for us to shun LaVar would come from the very same people that grew him into a household name (ESPN). Has he suddenly become someone else? Is he just a tad too controversial now? What gives?

To drive home what I mean about potential hypocrisy, I’ll share with you a few lines from Jay’s article that drip with a dreadful irony: “…I am done with him…it is not worthy of our coverage and not at all funny anymore. He is a misogynistic buffoon unworthy of my time.” The obvious hypocrisy of Jay’s distasteful name-calling aside, I find it more than a bit ironic that someone would write a 1,000 word article just to make clear that a person is unworthy of their time. Or is Jay really just trying to borrow some spotlight here? Perhaps if he’s really through with him, his best course of action would be to do exactly as LaVar says and “stay in your line”.

I don’t mean for this to be an article defending the antics of LaVar Ball, I see no need to do that. But, it is an article asking for clear and balanced treatment. Ball has always been, and always will be, a loud-mouthed sports dad with the arrogance and brashness to match. So, maybe next time he’s arrogant and brash, we don’t have to jump out of our seats to feign outrage and become endlessly self-righteous. Here’s looking at you, Jay.

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