Thursday, November 23, 2017

LaVar Ball's Big Con

I feel bad for his boys, especially Lonzo, who's on the Lakers now, and a success in his own right. I wonder how long until Lonzo cuts his dad loose. LaVar's already damaged his other two sons' chances of making to the NBA, and that's not counting LiAngelo's shoplifting arrest in China. Troubles in the family, and it's too bad. Of course, it had to turn political with LaVar not thanking President Trump for his help in securing LiAngelo's release.

Here's Bill Plaschke, at the Los Angeles Times, "The big blowhard: LaVar Ball has made a living off the backs of his children":

Just in time for the holidays, LaVar Ball has been good enough to advise us on one way to obtain a pair of his company's odd $495 sneakers.

The father of UCLA freshman basketball player LiAngelo Ball has spent the last week telling the world his son and fellow Bruins Cody Riley and Jalen Hill didn't really do too much wrong when they were caught shoplifting in three stores during the team's recent trip to China.

They were detained, confined to the country beyond their scheduled departure, released with the help of two presidents, publicly admitted their wrongdoing and are serving an indefinite team suspension.

But according to the family patriarch, a man whose publicity-seeking craziness has been excused because he is a good father, theft isn't that big of a deal.

To ESPN recently, Ball actually said, "It ain't that big of a deal.''

On CNN Monday night, he doubled down on the ignorance, saying, "The way I look at it, OK, [LiAngelo] was shoplifting. He wasn't physical. He returned it. He fessed up to it. … Nobody got hurt.''

Nobody got hurt? Nobody except the three shops from which the kids stole the items, his son's now-depleted team and, most of all, his son's shamed university.

When LaVar Ball said nobody got hurt, he meant LaVar Ball didn't get hurt. While his son was confined by the school to his Hangzhou hotel during the investigation, his father was out hawking shoes in cities as far as two hours away. While his son was watching his team's first game against Georgia Tech while sitting in that hotel, his father was actually in the stands, because who needs the kid on the court when you can peddle a branded T-shirt on TV?

LaVar Ball once seemed like a genius salesman worthy of examination, but in recent months the curtain has been drawn to reveal a shallow and shameless huckster. He once enhanced the Los Angeles sports landscape, but now he only infects it by continuing to bleat messages filled with delusion and disrespect. For someone who once epitomized sexism by telling a female sports-talk show announcer to "Stay in your lane,'' Ball has veered far from his original lane...