Over the last few months, LaVar Ball has taken the media landscape by storm. Whether it was his outlandish statements that his son Lonzo, one of the elite prospects heading into next week's NBA Draft, was better than two-time MVP Steph Curry, his boisterous claims of being able to defeat Michael Jordan one-on-one, his blaming UCLA's NCAA Tournament shortcomings onslow white guysor the backlash created by his son's $495 signature shoe, LaVar's presence within the hoops domain has been solidified, regardless of how you feel about the man.
If you doubt that previous statement, check out Bleacher Report's most recent episode of their phenomenal Game of Zones series.
🚨Game of Zones FINALE🚨 Here comes LaVar... RT for MORE episodes next season ↔ Fav for LONGER episodes next season (@att) https://t.co/seH5UhGJp6
Lonzo has preferred to let his game do his talking, and his spectacular freshman year at UCLA provided evidence that he's one of the best point guard prospects to come along in quite some time.
Many are convinced that LaVar's big mouth has written a check that Lonzo will have a hard time cashing once he suits up in the NBA against the most gifted players the world has to offer. Some have ridiculed him for being the ultimate helicopter parent that is living vicariously through his sons, who are living out the athletic dreams that never materialized for him. Others have applauded him for his entrepreneurial efforts to ensure that the NCAA, sneaker and apparel companies and other entities are not the only ones profiting off of his children's talents and elevated profiles.
But while mostly everyone has aired their opinion on opposite ends of the spectrum about the good, the bad and the ugly of LaVar Ball, Lonzo has remained silent. The recent Foot Locker commercial was his first extended foray in talking about his dad, and it was a lighthearted and funny reflection.
No player makes it to Draft night on his own. For Father's Day, we asked a few of this year's top prospects to reflect on everything their Dads have done to support them on their journey. #Approved
In a letter that was published by The Player's Tribune today, Lonzo took it a step further by penning a letter to LaVar that serves as a Father's Day reflection. It's a pretty dope piece, where Lonzo gets at the real man who raised him, and not the national television caricature that everyone seems to think they know.
"One of the things I admire most about you is that you don’t really care what other people think," he writes. "People can have whatever opinions they want about who you are as a person, but they’ll never have all the facts. They’ll never know you like I do."
He talks about the fun family times that they shared and how LaVar, which hasn't really been talked about, stressed his academic performance in high school and inspired him to graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
"You were always out there with us, leading the way," Lonzo wrote. "You were there for every step. Pushing, encouraging and refusing to accept anything less than our very best. You never forced me to do any of it. You knew that you never needed to. You understood me."
"A lot of people ask if I ever get sick of you talking about me," he goes on to write. "They see how I mostly keep to myself and assume that I’d rather you acted the same way. What they don’t realize is all of the stuff that you’ve said about me in public is the same stuff you’ve been telling me privately my whole life. And a lot of the time, you’ve been right. Over the years, you’ve spoken so many things into reality that otherwise seemed impossible."
He closes by saying, "You haven’t had the easiest life. Everything you’ve got, you’ve had to work for. And you’ve spent your entire adult life instilling that work ethic into me and my brothers to make sure that we never have to face the same challenges that you did. I can’t think of anything else that you could ask for from a dad.
Thank you for teaching me how to play this game. Thank you for teaching me how to be a man. And thank you for never apologizing for being you.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Love you."
So the next time you think you know who LaVar is based off of his soundbites, promotional acumen and loud mouth, think again.
There's much more to the man than meets the eye.