On Saturday afternoon ahead of the top-5 matchup in the desert between UCLA and Arizona, father of Bruins freshman Lonzo Ball was making headlines once again. LaVar Ball reportedly told a local Arizona radio station that his son would only play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
These comments come on the heels of him.
“He’s going to be the first one that’s homegrown, and trust me, he’ll do the same thing he’s doing at UCLA,” he told the radio station.
Whether the elder Ball meant for it to be released, and whether his comments were misinterpreted is uncertain. But given a chance to clarify his comments with ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, he made it clear it wasn’t L.A. or bust -- despite his prior comments.
“All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers,” LaVar Ball said. “I’m going to speak it into existence. I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn’t saying he’s only going to play for the Lakers.”
When asked about whether the Lakers could hypothetically secure the third pick in the upcoming NBA Draft (they have a 46.9 percent chance of doing so, per Tankathon.com), Ball cautioned the other teams picking ahead of the Lakers to steer clear of drafting his son -- comments he also backtracked on in his clarifying statement with ESPN.
“I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team,” Ball said. “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.”
With all the pressure from his father and the noise surrounding him playing for a team with the expectations UCLA has, Lonzo Ball went out and led his Bruins to a 77-72 win over Arizona on Saturday night. Our Gary Parrish says the Bruins are Nicole Auerbach of USA Today Sports., largely because of Ball, who posted 11 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals en route to the team’s seventh straight win in Pac-12 play. Despite what many would call a distraction, Ball made it clear he’s only focused on basketball in comments made to
“No, it’s not distracting,” Ball said about his father’s recent comments. “I just go out there and play basketball.”