Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to make sure they made the right choice with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
While Lonzo Ball had long been projected as the Lakers’ choice with their top pick, Johnson revealed in an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he still only was “80 percent” sure Ball was the right pick in the months leading up to the draft. The Lakers president of basketball of operations wanted to do his due diligence on the former UCLA star, and part of that homework was meeting with Ball’s boisterous father.
LaVar Ball dominated headlines throughout his son’s freshman campaign with the Bruins for his abrasive antics and bold claims. But with no cameras around, LaVar revealed to Johnson the reason behind his loud personality.
“He just said it’s marketing,” Johnson told Shelburne. “That’s what he had to do to market not only his son but the brand. Before I met him I had already thought that. I already knew what he was doing.”
Many wondered how LaVar would act once Lonzo turned professional. Given the way things played out last college basketball season, it was believed that LaVar might be overbearing and try to insert himself within the Lakers’ plans. But in his face-to-face meeting with Johnson, LaVar put all those theories to rest.
“He said, ‘Earvin, look, I’m not following my son,” Johnson recalled. “I’m not going to be hanging out in L.A. I’m going to be training these young kids (his other sons).
“‘As far as training my boy, this is as far as I can take him,'” LaVar says he told Johnson. “‘I’ll leave it up to you to take him further. You can get him better with the film time and the coaching. You can take him to another level.'”
So, it looks like we won’t have to worry about LaVar causing a scene on a nightly basis at Staples Center. Instead, we’ll probably see him causing a raucous at Pauley Pavilion once again, as his middle son, LiAngelo, will begin his freshman season at UCLA this fall.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images