Daryl Bell: LaVar Ball’s showman shtick comes to Philly
LaVar Ball has a shtick that is amusing and serious. Balancing the act while integrating reality isn’t easy but with a boisterous personality to accompany a loud and booming voice that reverberates off walls, he has learned to master the media. His presence draws a crowd and his speech draws attention.
It’s what he says and how he says it that makes him intriguing.
Thursday, Ball brought the show to Philadelphia and he didn’t disappoint. Earlier in the day, two of his sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, signed with agent Harrison Gaines. In doing so, the amateur status for both ended.
LaVar Ball had withdrawn LiAngelo from UCLA on Monday. LiAngelo, a freshman, and two teammates were caught shoplifting last month in China when the Bruins were overseas to open the season. President Donald Trump intervened in gaining their release. Shortly thereafter, UCLA suspended the three players indefinitely.
After watching his oldest son, Lonzo, get the assist on Brandon Ingram’s game-winning three-point goal with 0.8 remaining to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 107-104 victory over the 76ers, LaVar Ball performed. He issued a one-on-one challenge to Trump.
“Me and him play one on one, I’ll kill him,” said LaVar Ball. “All that room he’s got in the White House, there’s got to be a gym in there somewhere. I’ll let him bring two more people then it can be 3-on-1 and he still can’t beat me.”
LaVar Ball also explained why he allowed LiAngelo and LaMelo, both of whom joined their father in a suite at the Wells Fargo Center, to sign with Gaines. LaMelo, who is now being home-schooled after being taken out of Chino Hills High, is rated as one of the top players in the Class of 2019.
“[We are] trying to get to the Lakers as quickly as possible,” said LaVar Ball. “Can’t be sitting around doing nothing. We’ll play in Africa. We’ll play on the moon. As long as both of them are balling we’ll make a new movie and call it Ball Game.”
LaVar Ball enjoyed the boos Sixers fans serenaded Lonzo with every time he touched the ball. In the fourth quarter, from his perch, he encouraged the fans to get louder.
“The boos make my boy go,” said LaVar Ball. “He thinks they’re saying Ball. I told him when he was a baby, when they said Air Ball, it’s like saying Air Jordan. My son is in the NBA playing the game that he loves. He’s a millionaire. What can be bad about that? “
And he’s impressed with the Sixers and the city of Philadelphia.
“Young team, good team, just can’t beat us on this day,” said Lavar Ball. “Tell Joel Embiid ‘Happy Holidays.’
“It feels good, [I’m] just meeting folks and having a good time. People expect me to be in Philly talking about I don’t like Philly; I told you we were going to beat them. I don’t have to say all of that. They’re all good people. I’m going to get me another one of those Pat’s cheesesteaks. Y’all ain’t got no doughnut shops around here. I’ve been looking for one and can’t ’t find any. So far Philly has got the best hospitality we’ve been around but we’ve been to Phoenix, too. Only thing out here is that it’s cold. You’ve got to be prepared for this. Y’all tough.”