Lonzo Ball

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De’Aaron Fox’s dad calls out LaVar Ball

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The fully and wholly under appreciated thing about LaVar Ball and all the wild things he says, is the responses he generates.

LeBron James clapped back. Nike executive George Raveling labelled him “The worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” Kareem Abdul Jabbar has had enough.

The guy certainly attracts opinions from important people.

However, one of the top LaVar Ball responses was dropped on the internet Tuesday in Bleacher Report’s profile on former Kentucky guard and likely top-five draft pick De’Aaron Fox.

First, some context.

Lonzo Ball’s UCLA and Fox’s Wildcats met twice this season. The Bruins took the first game by five in December, with Ball posting 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the win at Lexington. Fox contributed 20 points, nine assists and two boards. In the Sweet 16 rematch, in which Kentucky prevailed by 11, Fox dropped 39 points, four assists and three rebounds to Ball’s 10 points, eight assists and three boards.

“They came up short, but one game doesn’t define his season,” LaVar Ball told ESPN after the Sweet 16 matchup. “No one is going to take De’Aaron Fox over him because of one game. It’s about your body of work, and people know what he can do.”

Well, Fox’s dad, Aaron, doesn’t exactly share that sentiment.

“My son already ate his ass up twice,” the elder Fox said. “[LaVar] can say what he wants to say. I just tell him to go back and watch the film. That’s it. All that yap, yap, yapping, I don’t even got to respond to that. We played them twice. Twice his son got outplayed.

“I always tell [De’Aaron], let your game speak for it. You ain’t got to talk. You ain’t got to fuss.”

Aaron Fox may not have the status of the other prominent LaVar Ball detractors, but his trash talk game is elite.

De’Aaron Fox’s 39-point game was to ‘shut LaVar up’

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In one of the best individual performances of the college basketball season, Kentucky freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox scored 39 points in the Wildcats’ 86-75 Sweet 16 victory over UCLA and his counterpart for that evening, Lonzo Ball.

Even though Ball had picked up a win earlier that season at Kentucky, it was the second time Fox had gotten the better of his fellow floor general.

The second meeting had three months of build up, as Ball went on have an All-American season while his father, LaVar, became a media sensation with his outlandish comments. Fox went on to have a notable season as well but that was in the shadow of the Balls’ frequent radio and television appearances.

In an interview with Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated, Fox revealed that the patriarch of the Ball household helped inspire his incredible tournament performance.

“Kill mode all the time,” is how Fox described his mindset before the UCLA game in March. “Shut Lavar Ball up,” is how he explains it a few months later.

In addition to his 39 points, he had three boards, four assists (to one turnover) and two steals. His defense also helped limit Ball to 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting and 1-of-6 from three and eight assists (to four turnovers).

Of course, Fox was mainly motivated by the chance to avenge an earlier a loss — one in which Lonzo shushed the Rupp Arena fans — earn a spot in the Elite Eight and bolster his draft stock against a projected top-2 pick. The comment he made to SI is harmless, especially when you look at LaVar’s well-documented claims and personal attacks. If anything, this could be laying the groundworks for a one-on-one rivalry at the next level with Lonzo, especially if they wind up in the same division, as some are currently predicting.

Ball, a Southern California native, is expected to go No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers. Fox the first lead guard after Markelle Fultz and Ball to be selected. DraftExpress.com currently has him going to the Sacramento Kings with the No. 5 overall pick.

Things you could buy other than Lonzo Ball’s shoes with $495

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Lonzo Ball’s signature shoe was unveiled Thursday.

Say what you want about them, but don’t call them cheap. The initial price is set at $495.
We decided to give you a list of things you could spend your five Benjamins on before the ZO2s ship in November.

This is, of course, a small sampling of things you can have or do for under $500. Or, you could have the shoe of a kid who has never played in the NBA nor is likely to even be the top pick of his draft. Decisions, decisions.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

LaVar Ball now has Markelle Fultz in his sights

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Markelle Fultz has now been drawn into the orbit of LaVar Ball.

The brash and bold father of UCLA star freshman Lonzo Ball advocated for his son to be the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft over Fultz, a Washington freshman whom many have tabbed as the top pick.

“If you got a kid that makes everybody better, you mean to tell me you wouldn’t take him over a guy that’s averaging 40 points but the team’s losing?” Ball told TMZ. “If you wanna winner, you pick my boy.”

“Look what he did to UCLA. They 15-17 last year. You bring one dude and change the culture that’s what you want, it’s not Lonzo’s passing and shooting that’s his great gift, it’s the winning.”

Fultz 23 points, five rebounds and five assists this season for the Huskies, who had a 9-22 season that resulted in the firing of coach Lorenzo Romar. UCLA is a three seed with a matchup Sunday against Cincinnati for a Sweet 16 berth. Lonzo Ball is averaging 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds per game.

LaVar Ball has made it a habit to make headlines with talk about a $1 billion apparel deal for Lonzo and his two younger brothers, that he could have beaten Michael Jordan in his prime and a host of other bold statements.

LaVar Ball walks back statement on Lonzo’s Laker future

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The only person better at generating headlines than Lonzo Ball seems to be his father, LaVar. The elder Ball managed to do so again this weekend, once for saying something wild and then again for walking those comments back.

LaVar told KCUB Sports Radio 1290 in Arizona that UCLA star Lonzo would play for the Lakers and that he would discourage other teams from taking the stellar point guard at the top of the draft. Later, he said he was only posturing.

“I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team,” LaVar told ESPN. “But I’d like him to play for the Lakers because it’s home, and I’d love him to learn from Magic [Johnson]. He’s the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson.”

Lonzo is averaging 14.8, 7.6 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Bruins, who stand at 26-3 on the season. He’s in the mix to be the potential No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft.

LaVar has already stated on multiple occasions that Lonzo is better than two-time MVP Steph Curry of Golden State. He’s clearly supremely confident – and outspoken – about his son’s talent. With two younger sons, LaMelo and LiAngelo, set to soon begin their own college careers, LaVar’s exuberant proclamations may just be getting started.