Hey, Lonzo Ball might be his own person with independent thoughts, after all. This is refreshing!
After months of Ball’s father LaVar going on talking-head show after talking-head show, telling anyone who would listen how his son is better than Stephen Curry, Magic Johnson and/or Michael Jordan, demanding 10-figure shoe contracts, leveraging his eldest boy’s popularity into his own Big Baller Brand, and practically begging every team other than the Los Angeles Lakers not to draft the 19-year-old, Lonzo finally let his own voice be heard in a Foot Locker commercial. And it was actually funny.
As fellow likely lottery picks Jonathan Isaac, Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox delivered “A Special Father’s Day Message” — memories from 1-on-1 games in the driveway to fishing trips with dad — Ball jokes:
“Of course there’s that big day when you’re dad berates your high school coach in front of your entire crowd for not getting you enough touches, or that special moment when your dad sits you down and tells you where you’re going to college, copyrights your name to make it part of a family lifestyle brand, went on ‘First Take’ and shouted back and forth with Stephen A. Smith about how you’re already better than the reigning league MVP, all those interviews from the stands during college games, the public spats with the all-time greats, sound bite after sound bite with the national media, and then tells 29 out of 30 teams to not bother drafting you.”
This. We like this self-aware Lonzo. We want more of this Lonzo. We have heard so little from him, because his father has drowned him out at every opportunity, and there is finally reason to believe he will be another likable NBA character — not just the poor kid who LeBron James and the rest of the league will relish in destroying to the delight of crowds everywhere because of stuff his dad said.
The ad is sort of damning for LaVar. The stuff about going on ESPN’s “First Take” is silly enough, but man, needing some quality copywriting from Foot Locker’s advertising agency to excuse a father’s public embarrassment of his teenage son and private controlling of his future is really something.
If only they could have found a way to joke about LaVar telling a female sports personality to “stay in [her] lane,” then selling “STAY IN YO LANE” T-shirts on his website and wearing one to coach another teenage son’s AAU 50-point loss, which led to more widespread public embarrassment for the boy.
We should note this ad aired a day after LaVar, who averaged 2.2 points at Washington State, went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to rehash his schtick about beating Jordan 1-on-1. In what might actually be a contest, Lonzo suggested he would beat a 50-year-old MJ today, and of course that was said with his dad looming over him saying, “I’m looking at him saying he better not say he can’t beat him.”
Kudos to Kimmel for comparing LaVar to David Hasselhoff.
And while Lonzo was scoring some points by poking fun at his father’s antics, what was LaVar up to? Hawking signed trading cards with quotes like “Lonzo better than Steph Curry!” for $60 a pop. So, let’s hope the attention continues to swing to Lonzo, because only one of them has proved entertaining.
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