LaVar Ball Continues to Violate His Vow to Magic Johnson, and the Lakers Have a Real Problem


Another day, another LaVar Ball soundbite. Not that the specifics matter so much at this point, but he went on Sirius XM NBA radio on Tuesday and said:

"“He’s disgusted, he’s not used to losing like this. The Lakers should build around Lonzo. Why are they sitting him down and not starting him the 4th quarter? This is why the record is raggedy.”"

This comes in the same week the Lakers began enforcing the “LaVar Ball” rule in the hopes that media members would stop talking to him in the friends and family section of the Staples Center. He’s been making negative noise about the Lakers since October.

While perhaps we can all say that the Lakers knew or should have known what they were signing up for with LaVar Ball, he assured Magic Johnson before the draft that he was playing a character, and essentially that his antics would be confined to his younger two sons from then on out. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne wrote in July:

"“He just said it’s marketing,” Johnson says. “That’s what he had to do to market not only his son but the brand. Before I met him I had already thought that. I already knew what he was doing.” But hearing it straight from LaVar’s mouth helped put Johnson and Pelinka at ease. As Johnson recalls, “He said, ‘Earvin, look, I’m not following my son. I’m not going to be hanging out in L.A. I’m going to be training these young kids [his other sons].'” “‘As far as training my boy, this is as far as I can take him,'” LaVar says he told Johnson. “‘I’ll leave it up to you to take him further. You can get him better with the film time and the coaching. You can take him to another level. I trust you with my boy. I just got a great feeling that you guys are going to take Zo to a whole other level.'”"

Now, it seems more likely that LaVar was playing a character in that meeting with Magic Johnson, and that his kayfabe persona in public is more in line with who he really is.

Lonzo Ball’s struggles with the Lakers – while it’s still way too early to permanently brand him as a Bust – are real. He’s shooting 31.3% from the field and 25% from three. He’s missing half his free throws. There are entire games where he just looks totally passive and gets lost in the flow.

Lonzo is under a lot of pressure. Being the second overall pick for the Lakers and having lofty expectations to play a key role in the improvement of that particular franchise is a lot in and of itself. Adding in the fact that he and his brothers are in the weeds of their father’s ongoing worldwide reality extravaganza can’t possibly be helping at this point.

Magic Johnson and the Lakers have a monster on their hands, and I have no earthly idea what I’d suggest for them as to how to handle it from here.