What most NBA prospects have in common is a strong support system. This may be a coach, trainer, friend or family member who’s taken a keen interest in the player. Though oftentimes, a self-sacrificing parent leads the mission. LaVar Ball has been the most outspoken parent in high school and college basketball. The controversy and media attention he drums up forces to take notice of his children’s talents on the basketball court, in addition to forming opinions of him as a person, coach, and father.
From the outside looking in, parents of elite athletes often get a bad rap. Either they are believed to be pushing the kids too hard, are too outspoken, or are said to be trying to live through their kids. However, these thoughts and comments often stem from others who don’t have elite youth athletes.
In a letter penned for The Players’ Tribune, Lonzo reflected on life with his father to push him and learning how to be great.
You were always out there with us, leading the way. You were there for every step. Pushing, encouraging and refusing to accept anything less than our very best. You never forced me to do any of it. You knew that you never needed to. You understood me.
And when I did need some motivation, you always knew just how to push my buttons. It wasn’t by making me do more reps or anything like that. It just came down to saying something simple like, ‘I hope you know that you’re not getting better.’ That was all I ever needed to hear from you to make me keep grinding.
It’s evident that Lonzo owes much of his success to his dad and possibly even more to come if he is selected to play for the Lakers, the Ball family’s ultimate goal. Possibly then, his antics will finally make sense to the masses.