Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brace yourself: LaVar Ball and Showtime are about to collide

LaVar Ball, the new clown prince of player parents, is at it again. When isn't he? There might not be a person who needs to be windmill slam dunked more than the father of former star UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball.

And I'll be all for it … when I stop laughing.

This loon is triple-double entertaining. And a marketing genius. His son's college career ended two months ago, the NBA playoffs are going on, but we're still following the Balls. I know I am. I can't help it.

LaVar Ball is way more unpredictable than the conference finals, a veritable Slip 'N Slide for the Cavaliers and Warriors. I can only hope Father Ball sets up a booth outside the Finals to scream to everyone about his 19-year-old and maybe hawk some of his obscenely overpriced for-men-only sneakers.

The latest obnoxious father furor is LaVar Ball's comments to Fox Sports reporter Kristine Leahy during The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Ball told Leahy to "stay in her lane," refusing to look at her after she asked a question. And he said he wasn't interested in having a Big Baller Brand women's basketball sneaker — no shoes for you.

An argument followed. Ball told Leahy, "My problem is you are a hater."

Meet the man who needs a rubber basketball arena. Send out the guys with the butterfly nets to haul him in.

There was the time LaVar said, "Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one."

There was LaVar saying Lonzo was better than Steph Curry. And LeBron James. And Russell Westbrook.

It was Dad, after UCLA was eliminated by Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, who said, "Realistically, you can't win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow."

And there's that Big Baller shoe brand, LaVar's brainchild. Yes, his kid already has a shoe. The first model, the ZO2 by Lonzo Ball, sells for $495. I think that's for the pair, not per sneaker.

Ready to throw up yet?

LaVar Ball's mouth is writing big checks that his son will have to cover with his play. Sons have redeemed fathers before. Lonzo will have to be incredible from his opening NBA tip. Know what? I'm pulling for him.

Because his father, king of the loose cannons, will never run out of cannon balls. And we haven't even reached the draft.

LaVar Ball has listed the Lakers as the only team his son will work out for before the draft. Los Angeles will pick second in the draft, behind the Celtics. The Celtics are expected to grab Markelle Fultz, the projected top pick. You know, if the Celtics wanted to teach the Balls a lesson, they'd choose Lonzo. Take that! Only LaVar would have to come along. I can just hear him saying he'd take Bird in a three-point contest.

Los Angeles is a better fit for Lonzo. The Lakers need a post-Kobe revival. The Balls could use some magic themselves.

Make that Magic.

Magic Johnson, Lakers president of basketball operations, NBA Hall of Famer and inventor of "Showtime," might be the only person who can save the day.

Magic and Magic alone can sit Crazy Man down and tell it like it is. "I've been in the spotlight, pal." Maybe he could wheel in Kobe and Kareem. Magic, his name, his success — his brand — could ratchet down Daddy without leaving fingerprints, maybe even convince LaVar that cutting a lower profile and returning to sanity was actually LaVar's idea.

Magic better hurry. LaVar Ball apparently has two other sons who are committed to play basketball for UCLA. Somebody needs to rein this guy in before he goes too far … or Lonzo Ball's shoe makes millions when he becomes a Laker. Who stops daffy daddy after that?

The show goes on. Just follow the bouncing Balls.

Contact Martin Fennelly at mfennelly@tampabay.com or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly

LaVar Ball, left, is putting a lot of pressure on his son Lonzo, right, with grandiose statements and by announcing a Big Baller Brand shoe for Lonzo that costs $495 a pair. [Associated Press]

LaVar Ball, left, is putting a lot of pressure on his son Lonzo, right, with grandiose statements and by announcing a Big Baller Brand shoe for Lonzo that costs $495 a pair. [Associated Press]

Brace yourself: LaVar Ball and Showtime are about to collide 05/18/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 12:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies anxious to get back on track

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Having already played four matches in less than two weeks' time, the Rowdies have to turn around again on short rest to host Saint Louis FC today.

    And they're actually glad about it.

  2. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  3. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out in Class 3A semifinals

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  4. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead

    Sports

    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    DeSean Jackson, a needed game-breaker for Bucs who signed a $33.5 million deal, welcomes big expectations.
  5. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight

    Blogs

    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins: