$220 flip flops?
That’s the final straw.
The Phoenix Suns need to stay away from Lonzo Ball for one ever present reason, his father LaVar.
Before you say ‘Lonzo is his own man and once he’s drafted his dad will fade into the background’ give me a second to make my case.
If you’re Robert Sarver, Ryan McDonough and the Suns front office, this is your one shot to truly change the franchise for the next decade. Everything rides on this pick being the guy you can pair with Devin Booker. After thumbing your nose at the athletic process by losing on purpose, doing your best Matt Damon in Rounders impression and gambling with that pick isn’t something you can risk.
Lonzo Ball is a gamble. Plain and simple. Forget that his shot is funky, that may or may not be changed. What can’t ever be changed is his father.
Do you really want to have LaVar trying to play Gepetto to the Suns Pinocchio? He already did it to his sons. He boasts about it.
In a piece on the Undefeated he bragged about choosing his wife for her “length, height and breeding hips” and that his plan was to always raise basketball stars. He’s the Kris Jenner of basketball and Lonzo is his Kim substituting the sex tape for a highlight reel.
LaVar has controlled every step of Lonzo’s journey. He’s been like Don King to Mike Tyson but with a blood relationship and not a contract. He’s taken every opportunity that a microphone is in his vacinity to say wild and inflammatory things. He’s pissed off all the major shoe companies to the point that one top NIKE executive called him “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last 100 years.” Oh, and he’s decided since they won’t license his Big Baller brand — overcompensate much — that he’ll just sell them himself … for $495 dollars a piece and $220 for the same kind of sandals you wore to the shower in your college dorm.
If you think that’s going to change once Lonzo is drafted with a top pick you’re kidding yourself. That’ll just embolden him.
Everyone insists Lonzo is different. He’s quiet and more thoughtful. That very well may be true, I haven’t met him. But I do know that, no matter how much a child tries, his parents have at least some impact on who they become. His LaVar showed when he was asked about if he’d rather be the No. 1 pick or selected by the Lakers by SportsNation and he said the Lakers. Or when he told ESPN he’s better than probable No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz.
“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him,” Ball said. “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”
If Ball is the leader he proclaims himself to be and he truly is more reserved than his father, shouldn’t he have stepped in already and told LaVar to stop saying he’s better than Steph Curry, insulting shoe companies willing to sign him to a big contract and trying to dictate where he’ll be drafted? Shouldn’t $220 flip-flops have been a breaking point? Or maybe has he grown accustomed to the noise that it’ll continue for whatever team he plays on?
For years during the June NBA draft the Suns shared their home with the lions, tigers, elephants and clowns of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. They won’t this year as the final curtain will have closed on the traveling act. Don’t worry though. If the Suns draft Lonzo Ball the circus, the clown — LaVar — his $495 dollar sneakers and much more will be calling Talking Stick Resort home and it will be much more than a one week engagement.