LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of former UCLA point guard and 2017 NBA Draft prospect Lonzo Ball, has ruffled plenty of feathers with his brash demeanor, outrageous claims and crazy business tactics.
And when push comes to shove, he also might be putting his son into a compromising situation, as there’s a belief that Lonzo Ball could enter the NBA with a target on his back thanks to his father’s over-the-top antics — a belief that former Kentucky point guard and fellow draft prospect De’Aaron Fox added validity to in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
As you might recall, Kentucky eliminated UCLA from the most recent NCAA Tournament, with Fox scoring a game-high 39 points (compared to Ball’s 10). Although Fox previously acknowledged having a “kill mode all the time” approach, the 19-year-old Kentucky product revealed to SI that he also felt motivated by LaVar Ball’s outspokenness leading up to that Sweet 16 matchup.
“Shut Lavar Ball up,” Fox said in describing his mindset, per Sports Illustrated.
Now, don’t be confused. Fox apparently still is cool with Lonzo and his brothers, and there were plenty of other motivating factors in play going into that Kentucky-UCLA showdown. But Fox clearly has seen an uptick in LaVar Ball’s personality in recent months, and he absolutely wonders whether it’ll impact how players approach facing Lonzo Ball at the next level.
“In the last year, (LaVar Ball) became relevant for some reason,” Fox told Sports Illustrated. “When I knew Lonzo in high school, I’d never seen his dad before. He went crazy this year. I guess when your son a lottery pick, that gives you a lot of confidence.
“Not just the great point guards,” Fox said of players gunning for Lonzo Ball in his rookie season. “Every point guard. Like Patrick Beverley’s not going to do it offensively, but he’s gonna be like, ‘Yo this kid’s not about to get past halfcourt.’ ”
Fox’s performance against UCLA in the tourney seemingly serves as proof there really could be some unintended consequences to LaVar Ball’s wackiness, and his recent comments on the matter certainly strengthen the argument.
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