The NBA has always had personalities that made the sport better. Players like Charles Barkley and even Shaquille O’Neal are prominent figures in the NBA community who still work in the basketball media to this day. They analyze the game while also expressing their personalities to fans and viewers. People like these players and their personalities, or they love to hate them.
Then there are people in the basketball community who go overboard with their personality, which ultimately detriments the NBA’s reputation.
This is where LaVar Ball comes in. Ball has been singlehandedly ruining NBA media, and even college basketball coverage, since his son, Lonzo Ball, stepped on the court with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) team.
As a fan of the NBA, Ball intrigues me yet infuriates me at the same time. It drives me insane when I see his name plastered over ESPN’s SportsCenter, on any Fox Sports show or anywhere on the internet. All he does is boast about him and his family’s basketball skills that somehow warranted headlines across news shows, pictures of him on the front pages of newspapers and his own show on Facebook.
It fascinates me to see how people react to this. All over social media, I feel like there is a great disdain for this man. It interests me because if no one wants to hear from Ball, then why do media outlets continue to cover him? If the media covers the Ball family this intensely, then it will burn the bridge between the media and those in the NBA.
This is already the case, unfortunately. Last week, Ball said that the Los Angeles Lakers and its players have turned their backs on head coach Luke Walton. News outlets took this and ran with it as their top story. However, since then, it feels like everyone finally had enough of Ball and his outrageous claims.
Walton ended up saying that he did not believe that this was the case. Then pretty much every player on the Lakers backed Walton up, except for Lonzo Ball. Then other coaches from around the league came out to back up the Lakers head coach as well. However, the Lakers organization did not say anything in regards to Walton and what Ball said.
Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle ripped the media, including ESPN, for allowing LaVar Ball’s words to get published and spread. Carlisle, who also serves as the president of the NBA’s Coaches Association, called it a “disgrace” that ESPN ran the story.
Why anyone would take Ball’s words to heart really baffles me. While parents of players in any league are a source for information on the players themselves, anything outside of that should not even be acknowledged. If a player is a free agent and the parents said something about coming closer to home, that’s something worth publicizing and running as news. The parent of a player not liking the way a head coach runs a team has no newsworthy weight to it.
ESPN is also a direct partner with the NBA, so for it to create drama within the league shows that ESPN was having a slow news day and had to create a story. Having the people you cover criticize you is news in itself, but ESPN will not publish anything like that so other news outlets do it for them.
The bottom line is that Ball is ruining the NBA and the way we follow it. While personalities in sports make the games better to watch and cover, it’s cancerous personalities such as his that ruin the experience of the game.