I’m with Lavar.
Loud, obnoxious, and twice as arrogant. He might be. With all of that taken into consideration, the father of future Los Angeles Laker, Lonzo Ball & younger basketball standouts LiAngelo and & LaMelo represents something that holds more weight than any of his flaws.
I often wonder, why we as Blacks that excel so much in the arts & athletics, give our culture away just to buy it back. I’ll give you an example. If the world’s top musicians, past & present (Jay-Z, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Sean Combs, Stevie Wonder, The Jacksons, Quincy Jones, L.A. Reid, I could go on…) are people of color, why do we have to go through distribution and management companies that are not owned by us? If the number of players in the NBA have been CONSISTENTLY 72% Black or more since 1990, why don’t we get more into team ownership…where the big bucks are?
On May 4, 2017, Lavar’s company, Big Baller Brand, released the ZO2 sneaker that came with a whopping $495 price tag. Basketball’s most hated dad took harsh criticism and ridicule from the public, as well as other celebs who chose to speak out on the high price and design of the shoe. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I cannot afford a pair of ZO2’s and have a serious issue with spending over $100 for a pair of shoes - and I have got to REALLY like them to drop a hundred. However, sneaker heads in America have had no issue dropping $200-$600 or more on Jordan’s, Kanye West’s “Yeezy” sneaker, or countless other hideous European designer brand shoes.
Business and financial prosperity is chest, not checkers. The criticism of the BBB ZO2’s still remains almost two months after the release. However, some of us get the big picture Lavar is attempting to paint for us. Peyton and Eli Manning, brothers that just so happen to be great quarterbacks, have both won two Superbowl rings each while being selected to countless Pro-Bowl appearances. Their dad, Archie, wasn’t that bad either. Now let’s just say Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo all do great in the NCAA, move on to the NBA, and all win championships. Big Baller Brand would then have the potential to become as popular or even more popular than the Jordan brand. Sounds like blasphemy to sneaker heads and MJ fans alike, right? But hear me out for a second-I say this because Jordan may be the GOAT, but we have to consider the fact that he was at his greatest during a time when kids who are now damn near 30 years old were babies. The emotional attachment that I share with my peers over MJ is heavily associated with the fact that we saw the greatness as it happened. We saw the buzzer beaters. We saw the signature fade away jumper that couldn’t be missed. We Saw the infamous Flu game against Utah.
These young kids are more attached to the shoe than Jordan’s actual NBA legacy. But consider the Ball brother enter the league and do half of what Jordan did. There would potentially be a large demand for this shoe and apparel. Then instead of signing an endorsement deal with Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour, the Big Baller Brand becomes a competitor. If more athletes become interested in endorsing BBB, more product would be released. And it may be a long shot, but in a decade or so, the Ball’s and their empire could be worth billions.
Honestly, I don’t think that Lavar’s personality or comments really scare America. We’ve seen the demonizing of the Black father happen with Joe Jackson, Cecil Newton, and Richard Williams. It’s the fact that a father- a BLACK father, has the audacity to defend his family and not allow them to be taken advantage of and turn down million dollar deals from the top dogs of sports apparel. Instead of walking out on his kids and falling into the deadbeat stereotype, we have a BLACK father that has stayed by his family every step of the way and is willing to be ridiculed and criticized so that he can build a legacy for them. Teaching them that they are the face of the game and therefore, they deserve the biggest slice of the pie, not Nike.
That’s America's problem with Lavar Ball.
And don’t get me started on this Kristine Leahly thing. The bottom line is, regardless if your profession is providing commentary or not, when you say something negative towards someone, they have a right to not want to have a conversation with you. Kristine commented saying that Lavar’s son, Lonzo, looked “terrified to go against anything his father said” , implying to me that Lavar may be overbearing or maybe even emotionally abusive towards his children. Don’t get me wrong; the freedom of speech clause gives reporters and commentators the right to make any statement and/ or accusation they choose, but also gives the accused the right to respond the way that they want to, if they respond at all.
In all honesty, I don’t agree with everything Lavar ball does or says. I’ve often cringed at some of his statements or even his behavior portrayed on television. But at the end of the day, I believe in his vision and think we need more Black men like Lavar in America.