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“Ball Till You Can’t” by Matthew Garrett

We all have THAT guy in our family. The one who says outlandish things when it comes to sports and, well, life advice in general. He’s usually the same person that talks about how beast he was back in the day and that some outside entity held him back from reaching his potential.

Still can’t figure it out? I’ll explain it like this; the guy in your family that talks like Skip Bayless.

LaVar Ball is that guy but instead of the dinner table, it’s America that’s his platform. Yes, we’ve spoken about the Ball family before but 2017 was truly the year of LaVar. Earlier this year the Ball family made headlines by releasing their own brand of sneakers. After Lonzo declared for the draft LaVar said it was destiny that his son would be a Laker. Sure enough, Lonzo was drafted second overall by, you guessed it, the Lakers.

In October LaVar dropped the bombshell that he was withdrawing his youngest son, LiAngelo, from Chino Hills High School so he could be homeschooled and focus on his basketball career. As one can imagine, it wasn’t met with a lot of praise.

The Ball family also expanded their Big Baller Brand merchandise collection with the release of LiAngelo’s first signature shoe.

You gotta admit, having a signature shoe at 16 is pretty dope.

That wasn’t the most interesting part of LaVar’s year, though.

In November UCLA went on a trip to China for a tournament. Ball’s second son, LiAngelo, was a member of the team and was accused of shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near their hotel. It would later be revealed that LiAngelo and two other teammates stole from three stores total. The players involved were suspended by UCLA and could not play in the season opener against China.

Let’s take a moment to recognize that Georgia Tech and UCLA flew all the way to China for a season opener but there isn’t enough money to pay players.

Moving on.

After being arrested the players paid a bond of $2,200 but had to stay in their hotel. Simultaneously, the President was in China and claimed to have spoken to President Xi and that he alone got their charges dropped. After returning stateside Trump wondered why the students didn’t pat him on the back and thank him for getting them off the hook.

UCLA held a press conference and in it, all players involved, including LiAngelo thanked the President for his help. Trump later tweeted that they were welcome and to have a great life.

UCLA later suspended Ball and the other parties involved indefinitely. They can’t dress, practice, or travel with the team.

A few days later ESPN caught up with LaVar and asked what he thought about Trump’s role in his son’s release.

Ball, never one to mince words, dropped this.

 “Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Trump, being the guy that he is, had to fire back.

Let’s gloss over the racial undertones in this tweet and focus on how Ball baited the President of the free world into a twitter tantrum. It’s safe to say that LaVar is the greatest heel of all time, right? Seriously, the man made an appearance on Monday Night Raw.

The story gets more interesting.

LaVar went on CNN for and gave an interview that won’t soon be forgotten. He reiterated that Trump didn’t do anything to get his son out of jail and played Chris Cuomo like an Alicia Keys piano. Ball had broken out of the sports world spotlight and had America’s attention.

Twitter, of course, had a blast with all of this.

Ball maximized on this opportunity and dropped the hottest tweet of 2017.

Even after all of this, there was one big problem for the Ball family. What would LiAngelo do now that he’s been suspended indefinitely from UCLA and what will LiMelo do now that he’s not in school anymore?

The answer: play for a professional Lithuanian basketball league! That’s right, the Ball brothers will play for the Vytautas Prienai club.

Big Baller Brand is now international. They’re pretty popular, too.

Meanwhile, in the NBA, Lonzo is having a decent rookie year. He’s averaging 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists and is the youngest player ever to record a triple-double. LaVar’s vision is for all three sons to play for the Lakers and if there’s anything 2017 has taught me is to not underestimate LaVar and the power of positivity.

You might not agree with LaVar’s tactics. You might hate LaVar and think he’s annoying. One thing you must do is respect the guy who’s main goal is to leave something behind for his children and isn’t afraid to question the system. Is he the perfect messenger? Probably not.

The question I pose to you is: has there been such thing as a perfect messenger?

 

As always, thanks for reading.

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