LaVar Ball joined Keyshawn Johnson, Jorge Sedano, and LZ Granderson on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles this morning, and he was characteristically bouncing off the walls in many different directions, not holding back what was on his mind in that moment. Here is a portion of the audio:
In that snippet, LaVar says that he sent ESPN’s Jeff Goodman home from Lithuania after Goodman quoted him as saying that Luke Walton had lost the team, and that he’d cut Goodman and his ESPN colleague Ramona Shelburne off from access to him.
“I sent Jeff Goodman home early,” Ball said. “Otherwise he would have still been out here. But how are you going to be out here if I won’t interview with you no more? You got to come home.”
Sedano had the impression that Ball and Goodman were close, and asked why Ball would send him home early. “He ain’t my guy no more,” Ball answered. “I’ll never ever EVER do an interview with that guy again. He’s sheisty, and I see that. He wanted to go that route. I told him, ‘You can do what you want, say what you want, you just gotta suffer the consequences whether they be good or bad.'”
“He did the story he wanted to write, tried to finagle things,” Ball continued. “Guess what? He’s out of the picture now. He can’t come close to my family.”
Sedano wanted to know what Goodman tried to finagle. “He’s sheisty,” Ball said. “He knows the kind of tricks he was trying to play, like when we’re interviewing about the boys [LaMelo and LiAngelo] and all of a sudden he slips in, ‘How’s Lonzo doing?’ Okay, I thought we were talking about the boys, because you know me, I’ll answer anything.”
Ball thought that his quotes on the Lakers turmoil was the story Goodman was actually trying to get: “If he thinks that story was worth a bunch of clicks, and him going to the moon? Hey, that’s fine. You also got to understand that affects me in a bad way, when I’m feeling bad, which it ain’t gonna bother me at all. Either I deal with you or I don’t. So now I never deal with him. Just like Ramona Shelburne. She’s off my list too. I don’t mess with them rudy poots no more. It’s okay. They still gotta do some stories. But ain’t nobody want to hear those stories that they’re doing on the outside unless you got my name in it.”
Obviously, LaVar Ball doesn’t have the power to send Goodman home from Lithuania. That’s for ESPN to decide. That being said, there’s an element of truth to the statement that his inability to quote LaVar Ball would make his dispatches less interesting for a mass American audience. (We’ve argued, against the opinions of many media members and NBA coaches, that the quotes about Luke Walton were indeed newsworthy.)
We’ve reached out to ESPN to see if they have any comment on this interview and will update if we hear back.
UPDATE: An ESPN spokesperson sent the following statement to The Big Lead: “Jeff was in Lithuania for eight days and he came home as scheduled after the brothers’ first game. This was solely ESPN’s decision.”
UPDATE #2: Both Goodman and Shelburne have taken to Twitter. Goodman expressing his happiness with today, and Shelburne talking about how it’s just typical Lavar.