Freshman point guard Lonzo Ball has re-awakened a sleeping giant out at UCLA and has the Bruins, ranked No. 3 in the country, as one of the favorites to make a Final Four run as we head into this year's NCAA Tournament. Not only one of the leading contenders for Freshman of the Year honors, he's also a legitimate candidate for the National Player of the Year.
It is widely assumed that he'll end up with either the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns or Los Angeles Lakers as one of the top three picks in the upcoming NBA Draft , and as incredible as he's been this year, and with a future that looks golden, it's a shame that his father LaVar, has dimmed the shine on what should be his son's last few moments in the college spotlight.
Recently, LaVar has seemingly been afflicted by Trump Syndrome, aka Diarrhea of the Lip, making ridiculous claims that Lonzo is better, right now, than Steph Curry and that on the sports marketing horizon, his son is only comparable to Michael Jordan in terms of his branding power.
I mean, the kid is an exceptional talent, probably the best pure college floor general and all-around player at the point guard position since Jason Kidd was putting in work at Cal in the early '90s.
But better than Steph, right now, and on par with the once-in-a-lifetime athletic corporate pitch man responsible for the phenomenon known as the Air Jordan shoe and apparel empire???
What in the world is Papa Ball smoking?
It seems that Charles Barkley would like to know as well.
“Just because you say some s---, doesn’t make it right,” Barkley told Sporting News. “He’s gonna be better than Steph Curry? That’s what he said. Steph Curry has won a couple MVPs, he’s pretty good. Man, let me tell you something. That’s that AAU s---. You can’t say a guy is going to be better than Steph Curry, a guy who has played 30 college games. I know you can be proud of your son, but at some point, it becomes stupidity.”
It's one thing to be excited for and proud of your son. But it's quite another to spew such outlandish nonsense, which does nothing but detract from his exploits and places a huge bulls-eye on his back next year when he has to match up nightly with the best point guards in the world.
You think Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas and John Wall aren't salivating to break Lonzo off real proper-like?
Shoot, Spencer Dinwiddie, Elfrid Payton and Ish Smith are chomping at the bit as well.
At a time when Lonzo and UCLA should be celebrating a fantastic regular season and looking for a statement run through the Pac-12 postseason tournament before what they hope will be a memorable run through March Madness, the focus has now shifted to Poppa Ball.
And due to guilt by association, his son now has the world's expectations heaped upon him, with many secretly wishing for him to fail so that his father can go quietly into the night
Lonzo is the truth, but to say that he's better than Steph is the most irresponsible hyperbole ever. You could expect that coming from a misinformed UCLA fan, but from his own father? To do that to your kid is beyond ridiculous. It's beyond dumb as well.
Here's hoping that Lavar just lets his son have his moment and enjoy his last few games in the college spotlight.
It's an experience to be cherished. And not one to have to deal with your father stealing your shine while placing the most unrealistic of expectations on you.