With the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected LaMelo Ball. Not only does this make him the second player in the Ball family to be selected near the top of the NBA Draft, it also provides a chance for his father LaVar to reignite his feud with team owner Michael Jordan.
For those who may have forgotten, there was a time when LaVar Ball was one of the biggest names in American sports despite not actually participating in any of them. With his oldest son Lonzo's ascension to the NBA from UCLA, Ball's athletic company, Big Baller Brand, and personal brand skyrocketed to national prominence.
The Ball patriarch's approach to appearing on various sports shows was like that of a wrestling promoter, meaning that on a weekly basis, there was at least one quote from LaVar that went viral. Most notably, he proclaimed that if given the chance he would defeat Michael Jordan himself in a one-on-one match.
Here's the full quote he gave USA Today back in 2017.
"Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one. I would just back (Jordan) in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left. He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot 'cause he can't go around me. He's not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.''
It took about a month or so, but eventually Jordan did respond, probably due to the fact that he couldn't flip to a sports channel without seeing the man's face during that time. He made sure to give his reply loud and clear in front of a large group of people: there was absolutely no chance Ball would have beaten him.
"You got to understand the source. I think he played college, maybe?
"He averaged 2.2 points a game. Really?
"It doesn't deserve a response, but I'ma give it to you because you asked the question.
"I don't think he could beat me if I was one-legged."
Chances are this won't actually happen. First of all, LaVar made sure to qualify his claim with the fact that he could beat Jordan at his athletic prime, which is probably behind him at 53-years-old. He also hedged a bit later, back-tracking his words, presumably on the off chance that Jordan's competitive spirit decided to perk back up and go with the challenge.
"Look at everybody, man. Everybody used to say, 'You know, I think Wilt Chamberlain is better than Shaq; I think Oscar Robertson is better than LeBron.' Now the story is LaVar is better than Michael Jordan," Ball told The Really Big Show on ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland.
"C'mon, I didn't even play basketball in the pros and they're talking about me and Michael Jordan. That's what I'm talking about. He tells me he can beat me with one leg. Well, guess what: I can beat him with one hand. Now we both look like we out there like we can't play."
While the on-court battle won't happen, it says a lot about the cultural impact of LaVar Ball that he's still an integral part of his kid's draft story, even after going rather quiet as of late.