Has a Father's Support Gone Too Far?

May 17, 2017

Lonzo Ball will be a top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but his father LaVar Ball is getting most of the attention. Unfortunately, it's not good attention. LaVar Ball has turned his son's success into a personal media tour for his Big Baller Brand. But, most of the attention on LaVar is due to his audacious claims.

Whether it's beating Michael Jordan one-on-one or that his sons are worth a billion dollar shoe deal, LaVar has created a circus.

It's one thing for a father to support his son's pursuit of an NBA dream. But, LaVar's "support" has turned into self-promotion that could damage Lonzo before his career begins.

LaVar Ball Seeking Validation?

LaVar seems to be trying to validate himself as an athlete. LaVar had a brief college basketball and pro football career. Now, he seems to be living vicariously through Lonzo. And, LaVar can justify it by looking at the money, training tools, coaching, and time he poured into Lonzo to get their family to the cusp of an NBA contract.

But, that's the issue. It seems to be about taking care of LaVar, not setting up his son for success. LaVar comes across like he was wronged by not having opportunities to be successful. So, he did everything possible for his son to have those opportunities. And now he wants to be compensated.

What better way to increase the value of his brand than to become the center of the sports world by making outrageous claims? Unfortunately, those claims are going to reflect on Lonzo in the NBA.

Lonzo will already be targeted as a top Draft pick, but now he will face ridicule and taunts. NBA star Kyrie Irving once was a No. 1 Draft pick, like Lonzo might be. And he sent a message that LaVar needs to back off.

"I'm sorry, LaVar, you're not going to be in every hotel room that Lonzo is going to be in. You're not going to be everywhere and part of his life as he continues to grow up. You got to let go. He's 19 years old. Don't get me wrong - I don't want it to bypass him being a father, but he's got to let Lonzo be Lonzo for the long haul." - Kyrie Irving on The Uninterrupted podcast via SB Nation.

LaVar Ball Creates New Kind of Fatherly Issue

We're used to famous sports fathers whose children try to follow in their footsteps. This is different. Here is a non-famous former athlete LaVar Ball trying to enhance his past profile through his now-famous son.

On the flipside, famous sports fathers have started to understand they cannot put pressure on their kids because of extra scrutiny that comes with the last name.

Roger Clemens' two youngest sons, Kacy and Kody Clemens, are on the Texas Longhorns baseball team. At Texas home games, Roger sits in the stands near the dugout, but you never know he's there.

There is a sense of fatherly support, not fatherly overshadowing. Roger knows his sons are unlikely to match his Hall of Fame-worthy career. So, he's turned into a dad in the stands supporting his sons and enjoying watching them play.

Another famous Hall of Fame-worthy athlete, Kobe Bryant, understands where the emphasis needs to be. It's the fundamentals.

Bryant, now retired from the Los Angeles Lakers, has formed the Mamba League to help youth sports players with basketball basics. The league is Kobe's answer to the AAU system that he believes does not give rising basketball stars proper training tools.

"Right now, I think we're putting too much pressure on these kids too early, and they're not learning proper technique of how to shoot the ball or proper technique of spacing," Bryant was quoted by The Vertical via Sports Illustrated.

LaVar Ball falls into the category of putting too much pressure on his kids. And, he represents what Kobe wants to address in youth sports.



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Young athletes need to feel supported like they do with our training tools. And not turned into a means to an end, which seems to be the case for LaVar Ball as it relates to the NBA career of Lonzo Ball.

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