From the moment Lavar Ball for manifested himself out of Rob Ford’s crack smoke, the internet has been split in their support of this ambitious father who uses his children as tools to advance his own personal brand. The detractors have not been quiet about their desire to see this guy fail.
Whether they hate the way he pulled his two sons from UCLA or that he forced them to live and play in a war-torn nation overseas for no reason or that he simply is a cocky dude when thinks he can beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, it’s safe to say there are plenty of reasons to root against this Vince McMahon-esque provocateur.
After his youngest son, Lamelo, wasn’t allowed to play at UCLA because he was receiving money from Big Baller Brand endorsements, Lavar decided to create his on amateur basketball league to compete with the pretty corrupt and antiquated NCAA.
The JBA was formed soon after and honestly, we should applaud this man for how quickly he turned this league around. There is obviously a lot of room to grow after the first two weeks but the idea of paying kids to play basketball in hopes of being drafted to the pros shouldn’t be revolutionary in 2018 but somehow Lavar was the first man to actually get it done.
Meanwhile, the JBA is underway. A very empty stadium for the first game of the night. ?? pic.twitter.com/V03PtVS3Nf
— ProCity Hoops™ (@ProCityHoops) June 22, 2018
Everyone is so ready to mock this league. Yes, there is no one really in the stands and for as much as Lavar has done a great job marketing his $300 shoes that most people who ordered them haven’t even received yet, he was pretty quiet about the launch of the JBA. Didn’t even realize that it was starting this summer.
Also not super excited about all 8 teams being called the ‘Ballers’. That’s something that’s like cute or clever on paper but like, it’s extremely dumb and probably adds to the awful marketing of this league.
But before we shit on the theatrics of the Ball family and the empty gyms and the poor marketing, let’s remember that these rosters consist of more than just the Ball brothers. There are kids from across this country who are truly out here looking for any and all opportunities to both play competitive basketball for money as well as make it to the next level.
Kezo Brown was a highly recruited prospect out of the Chicago area. He was good enough to try out for the USA junior team after his sophomore year of high school. Then he suffered from mental health issues, spent time in a psychiatric hospital and his offers washed up.
He would eventually get a scholarship to play at Chicago State but the head coach was fired before he arrived and Brown lost his scholarship. He had no choice but to join the JBA. In his first game, at Chicago coincidentally, he dropped 46 points.
Here’s what Kezo Brown said about his opportunity to play in the JBA:
“What I’m going through is a struggle. I just want to help out my family and get some money. LaVar Ball is a great man. I’m happy to be around people that have some love for me.”
Wow, it’s almost as if Lavar is giving kids a chance to follow their dreams. Now, there’s no way to know how seriously scouts are going to take this league but it’s just the beginning. Eventually, Lavar will get this league on television. Eventually, we’ll see his weird ass son LiAngelo on billboards and city buses.
We should all be rooting for the JBA. The NCAA making billions off of the free labor of their students is nonsense. Head coaches making tens of millions and students that can’t afford lunch. Let’s not pretend like these kids are going to Texas A&M for their phenomenal agriculture programs.
Or are we all cool with the NCAA allowing Michigan State to rape every girl that walks into their facilities? Sure, Lavar Ball is annoying but he’s given more to his family and these kids then he’s taken.
Long Live The JBA.