Allow me to introduce some new slang. You might have heard the name but never attributed it to anyone else except its progenitor.
Yes, you know the name of the gregarious, overhyped father of NBA Draft prospect, Lonzo Ball and high school players LiAngelo and Lamelo Ball.
More than that, he is a father with a purpose that will not be denied. Being a former athlete himself, Ball understands the politricks of collegiate and professional sports. Players cannot make money where the schools they play for can sell their player’s jerseys with impunity.
On the professional level, you are forced to deal with the top three sports footwear brands or be left in the cold. Ball sought to change that from the dynamic performance of his rising son, Lonzo Ball. After being a driving and guiding force for his son who is a breakout star, Ball understands that you have to strike while the iron is hot and be fearless in the process.
While a student at Chino Hills High School, Lonzo was awarded multiple national high school player of the year honors and led his team to an undefeated record, as well as a national championship. As a college freshman in 2016–17, he led the nation in assists and broke the UCLA record for most assists in a season. He also won the Wayman Tisdale Award as the top freshman in the nation.
With those accolades in tow, Ball went hard, comparing his son to every legend in their prime and boasting how he would have demolished them too. Ball is brash a maybe even a bit misogynist, but he is a proud father unafraid of the backlash of loving your black son.
In a country where the only news you hear about black fatherhood is negative “baby daddy” labeling, Ball is the champion for young black masculinity. His style is all Dame Dash passion with a little Bobby Knight sports aggression, but I can’t help but smile at his tenacity and love for those three young men. As a father to a young son, I have my own LaVar Ball tendencies, but for different things like my son’s advanced vocabulary at age six or his penchant to give his last chicken nugget to any homeless person he sees.
I am raising a thoughtful, caring young man and if he is blessed with any athletic talents, I hope to be a sliver of the man LaVar Ball is for his children. With his bombastic game-changing apparel line, Big Baller Brand, he is forcing his kids into the reality of being a star and teaching them how to take ownership of their brands in the process.
He is not raising puppets here folks, and that is why we talk about him. Correct me if I’m wrong, but no one is discussing his value to black fatherhood as the sports world’s James Evans meets Malcolm X.
I do and raise my glass to LaVar Ball and all the men aspiring to be La Var Balls in life.
In a world where we are the prey of watchmen, we must raise young black men to be fearless and harness their magic. After all, the world will try to take it and leave them depleted if you don’t.