On Monday, USA Today published a story about LaVar Ball, father of UCLA basketball phenom Lonzo. Lonzo has taken the college game by storm, but his father has drawn nearly as much attention for his … let’s call it newsworthy behavior. LaVar opened up to writer Josh Peter on any number of topics; the result is fascinating, fun, and more than a little ridiculous. How ridiculous? That’s what we’re here to answer. We grabbed the eight most notable things Ball père said, and graded them with our patented Ridiculousness Quotient.
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.”
Ridiculousness Quotient: 8/10
LaVar Ball thinks he could beat Michael Jordan. In basketball. This is patently false.
“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.”
Ridiculousness Quotient: 7/10
Ball averaged 2.2 points per game playing ball at Washington State in 1987. He’s also 49, full of dad strength, and has the proportions of an industrial refrigerator. Somehow I don’t hate this quite as much.
“Even if you don’t want to hear me, you’re going to hear me.”
Ridiculousness quotient: 2/10
Points for self-awareness.
“A billion dollars, it has to be there. That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 mil over 10 years.”
Ridiculousness quotient: 10/10
LaVar Ball wants a package marketing deal for his sons that will pay the family a billion dollars. Here’s the relevant context: LeBron James is rumored to have signed a billion-dollar deal with Nike. That contract will pay out over the course of James’s lifetime. Lonzo Ball is a very good college basketball player; his brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are very good high school basketball players. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: You, Lonzo, are no LeBron James.
“Lonzo and LiAngelo each drive $100,000 BMWs.”
Ridiculousness Quotient: 6/10
Flaunt it if you’ve got it, I guess. And anyway, you should see what things look like across town at USC.
“To make me cry, you’ve got to hit me with a 2-by-4.”
Ridiculousness Quotient: 3/10
I completely believe this.
“On the the web site, bigballerbrand.com, the family sells T-shirts for as much as $60, hoodies for as much as $70 and hats for as much as $100.”
Ridiculousness Quotient: 10/10
Let’s do some quick market analysis. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig sells these swastika-adjacent hats (available in national team colors!) for $30. Floyd Mayweather, the king of disgusting personal branding, sells synthetic leather The Money Team–branded hats for $88. LaVar, who is selling Ball-family-branded merchandise, is tripping.
“I told them, ‘I’ll wear your colors, but it ain’t gonna say UCLA.’”
Ridiculousness Quotient: 1/10
LaVar wears his own blue-and-yellow Big Baller Brand shirts to cheer on his son, whose school profits off his labor and likeness for free. Respect.