LeBron James directed a cease-and-desist order of sorts on Tuesday to LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of three — including star UCLAfreshman Lonzo Ball — who said earlier this month that his children are set up better for future success than those of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ star.
“Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth,” James said of LaVar Ball to ESPN on Tuesday, as the Cavaliers practiced on UCLA’s campus, two days after a road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
“This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.”
James’ two sons, 12-year-old LeBron James Jr. and 9-year-old Bryce Maximus James, have shown plenty of promise on the AAU circuit — to the point where the eldest son, “Bronny,” has standing verbal scholarship offers from Duke and Kentucky, as ESPN reported last summer.
The Ball family includes Lonzo Ball and his two younger brothers, 18-year-old LiAngelo and 15-year-old LaMelo, both of whom will attend UCLA on scholarships in the coming years.
LaVar Ball has been outspoken on a number of topics regarding his children in recent months, and he brought James’ family into the conversation while appearing on a recent episode of the In the Zone with Chris Broussard podcast. During the appearance, Ball suggested his sons were better set up for future success in basketball than James’ because the four-time NBA MVP’s pedigree will be too much for them to live up to.
“The monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn’t that good,” Ball said. “They were OK, they was players, but the fact that the old [Dell] Curry wasn’t no All-Star, he wasn’t cold. He could shoot the ball, though. Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that, that’s why he’s such a monster.
“You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad.’ And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?’ And then they are going to be like, ‘Aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
Ball, a former professional football player, also said that James’ success would preclude him from helping his sons develop their own playing careers.
“Let’s say I really excelled in football and made millions and millions of dollars. Do I spend that time with them now? No, I’ve got the offseason, I’ve got to worry about myself. Now I just buy you everything. Now I get you a trainer and hope you turn out to be OK,” Ball said on the podcast. “Whereas the fact that I wasn’t all that, allows me to spend all that time to make my boys all that.”
LaVar Ball has said he was good enough to “kill” Michael Jordan one-on-one in his prime, which would seem to punch a hole in his theory that his sons are better off because their father was not an all-time great.
On Tuesday night, following James’ retort, Ball said he doesn’t have a problem with James while sticking by his original point.
“They asked me a question about, do I think superstar players’ kids are good. And just my opinion that I’ve never seen one that was really good,” Ball said on Fox Sport Radio. “LeBron is going to make his kids probably one of the best players ever, according to him … but I’ve never seen one really live up to what their dad has done, so he could be the first or the last.”
First off fuck LaVar Ball. I don’t think there’s a more punchable person on Earth right now than him. He’s a genius because he has everyone talking about him, his sons and his shitty as Big Baller Brand but god damn do I hate him. No doubt too, he’s got phenominal sperm. Probably top 5 sperm in the land right now if we’re being honest. The man can pump out basketball players like a factory producing shoes. There’s no denying that. It’s not even I hate him either. LaVar seems like a cool ass dude when he’s not yelling about his boys have better dreams than Martin Luther King Jr, but that rarely happens. I hate people like him. I hate parents that go above and beyond to talk about how great their kids are. It’s like nails on a chalkboard but a billion times worse. I can’t fucking stand it.
BUT (Stephen A. Smith voice) he kinda sort of has a point here. LeBron’s kids aren’t gonna be shit compared to him. We’re talking about LEBRON FUCKING JAMES. By the time his career is done he’ll be considered the greatest of all time.
You think little Bryce Maximus, which is a wild fucking name, is gonna be able to achieve a an ounce of what his dad did in the NBA? You think LeBron James Jr is gonna be able to live up to the legacy of the guy he’s named after? Fuck no. That’s an impossible task to complete and even LeBron knows that.
If you have successful parents you aren’t living up to their name. You look at almost every successful athlete and see what their kids achieved in the same sport. Exactly. They were trash. When you’re the greatest at something odds are your kids won’t live up to it.
Shit, my pops won the “Man of the Year” award for where I’m from a few years ago. He got a nice little spread in the paper and had everyone congratulate him on Facebook for like 2 months straight. Pretty sweet to be honest. And there’s no way I even come close to achieving anything like that in my lifetime. The best I’ll probably do is be told I’m not a complete dissapointment, but still a dissapointment. I’ve come to accept it and I’m sure my dad has too. My dad doesn’t have a gazillion dollar Nike deal though so I’m fucked.