Lavar Ball Should be a Cautionary Tale

In case you didn’t know, Lonzo Ball is the Freshman Guard from UCLA who has declared for June’s NBA Draft and is projected to be a top 2-3 pick. I have to make such a seemingly obviously statement because unfortunately, it is his father, Lavar Ball who has been grabbing more of the headlines over the past few months. Lonzo Ball’s dream of playing in the NBA is about to become a reality in about a month. But, it has been his pompous, self-promoting father who has claimed the spotlight leading up to the draft.

It started with Lavar Ball’s foolish claims that his son was already better than Steph Curry. If Ball’s credibility wasn’t already in doubt, his foolishness reached a new level when he said that he would have “killed Michael Jordan one-on-one”. 

In case you didn’t know, Lavar Ball’s basketball career ended after averaging 2.2 points per game while playing at Washington State. To say Ball was not the same caliber player of Jordan is the understatement of the year. Despite those humbling facts, Lavar has not backed down from his family promotions. After his demands for a shoe deal were rejected by Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, he released a proof of Lonzo Ball’s signature “Big Baller Brand” shoes were released with a reported price of $495.

Most people would agree that $495 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on basketball shoes. But for a pair of shoes linked to a 19-year old yet to be drafted in the NBA, it is pure insanity. The most troubling aspect of this entire story and hype surrounding Lonzo Ball is that virtually all of it is “thanks” to his dad. And Lavar Ball is not doing his son any favors.

Lavar Ball has earned a very negative reputation across the sports landscape, and deservedly so. But as crazy as he may seem, there is truly not anything unique about Lavar Ball. Lavar Ball represents the worst behavior of a sports parent.

Anyone who grew up playing youth and/or high school sports came in contact with at least one crazy, helicopter parent who was way too invested in their child’s athletic endeavors. In most cases, these parents cared more about their kid’s performance than the actual kid. Most people describe this behavior as an attempt to live through their children’s athletic accomplishments following an athletic career that fell short of their own personal expectations.

With as eccentric as Ball’s behavior is, he is not as unique and original as the media makes him out to be. In fact, there are hundreds to thousands of “Lavar Ball’s” across the country. We are just not hearing about them. We’re not hearing about them because their kids are currently playing Little League, Pop Warner Football or are participating in youth swimming and gymnastics. These are the parents of children as young as eight years old, Their kids are not competing at a level that warrants national attention, like Lonzo Ball, who’s UCLA Bruins fell to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in a nationally televised game on CBS.

These parents would like nothing more than for their child to reach the level of Lonzo Ball. Usually, they want it more than their own kid does. For most kids, their purpose in youth sports participation is fun and exercise. Sure, their heads will go into the clouds at some point as they dream about the possibility of being drafted or participating in an Olympic Games. But for 99.9% of them, it is not realistic.

As these kids grow up, these kids start dropping these sports for a variety of reasons. It may be to focus on other activities, free up time for an after school job or simply a loss of interest. The worst reason I have witnessed is when the parent ruins the experience for the child. This is when their parent is acting too much like Lavar Ball, and it is no longer fun for the kid. It happens every day.

They make the sport too much about them, start trouble with the coach(es), likely create a scene (or scenes), embarrass their child and ultimately hurt their child more than helping. You might be thinking, “Well if they were as good as Lonzo Ball, then they definitely won’t quit”.

Not true. The talent and potential, as elite as it may be is rarely enough to mask the torment felt by young athletes caused by their parents’ overbearing behavior. Up until now, Lonzo Ball has been able to put up with it. But Lonzo Ball is in the minority. There are plenty of young basketball players who likely had a similar ability that have cracked or are likely to crack before too long.

This is why Lavar Ball should be a cautionary tale. There are too many “Lavar Ball’s”. And “Lavar Ball’s”, as much as they claim to be doing whatever it is they do for the benefit of their child, are only being a detriment. They justify their behavior with the defense of supporting their child, or by that, they are “putting them first”. Sadly, these parents are blinded by how much worse they are making the experience for their children.

If you watch Lavar Ball on television or hear him on a radio and feel disgusted, good. You should be disgusted. More importantly, he should serve as a warning and provide a lesson to parents of young athletes. Lavar Ball’s greatest contribution to sports may ultimately be educating sports parents on what NOT to do. Let’s hope the lesson spreads, and this behavior starts to subside in this next generation.


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Players Who Sucked This Week

There’s a million baseballers on this week’s list again. Okay not a million but still too many to count.



What happened to the Senators on Sunday? All playoff games were close this past week except for the bludgeoning the Penguins gave them last night. Other than that, what we’ve seen from the the NHL playoffs thus far should make for an awesome Stanley Cup Final.



Danny Green went 5-18 from the field and shot .200 from long range. But would it really matter if he played better? Nope! The Warriors are still going to the Finals.

Matt Barnes shot .143 from the floor and missed all three-point attempts. Another bench-sitting player dude named Deron Williams wasn’t much better, shooting .182 from the field.

Both the Celtics and Cavaliers get a mention for being blown out by 44 points and blowing a huge lead, respectively.



Jered Weaver should consider retirement or the Padres need to cut him. He didn’t make it out of the first inning Friday night before giving up seven runs on five hits and two walks. Heck, even the opposing pitcher had an RBI and run scored in the first inning. He’s now 0-5 with a 7.44 ERA for the season.

Tommy Milone had two rough starts last week – he combined for 12 earned runs, four home runs, and five walks in eight total innings. He also earned his first two losses of the season.

The following guys pitched one game and that’s probably all the coach wanted to see: Ian Kennedy, Julio Teheran, Chris Heston, AJ Griffin, Julio Urías, Josh Tomlin, Zach Eflin, Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, and Tom Koehler.

Chris Young added to Ian Kennedy’s terrible Sunday start, giving up three more runs in five innings of “relief” work.

Yovani Gallardo and Dillon Overton gave up 14 earned runs to the White Sox in 8 innings. Yikes!

“I’ll never figure out these guys”

Jarlin Garcia was a great relief pitcher if you were on the Astros or Dodgers. He gave up five runs in 3 ⅔ innings of work, boosting his ERA from 3.00 to 5.02.

Masahiro Tanaka let Yankees fans and this fantasy owner down. But I’m not too mad since it was against my Rays.

Mike Bolsinger started and lost two games last week, giving up nine earned runs in as many innings.

Mike Montgomery might’ve been the worst reliever of the week. In two games he allowed five runs in less than three innings while walking four batters. He was credited with the loss in the latter game. Enny Romero gave him a run for his money as the worst. Jose Alvarez, David Hernandez, Blake Wood, Donnie Hart, and Giovanni Gallegos are also here to join the terrible relief party.

Tanner Roark was not like himself last Thursday, surrendering seven runs in five innings. He even nearly upped his ERA a full point!

Oliver Perez had two relief appearances where he didn’t even record an out. Talk about being expendable.

Michael Ynoa appeared in just one game but it’s one he’ll want to forget (four runs and only one out). His teammate Anthony Swarzak joins him after giving up three runs without an out in his last appearance.

Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler were both terrible last Monday. I got nothing clever to go with that.

Ryan Goins was the worst hitter of the week, going 1-23 from the plate with eight strikeouts. His teammate Darwin Barney cut it close by going 2-23. Adam Rosales was slightly better than both as he went 2-22 but then he had to strike out 12 times so now I don’t know who the worst hitter is.

Goins trying to figure out what went wrong.

Tuffy Gosewisch went 1-13 at the plate and struck out eight times. He was then demoted to triple-A. Justin Ruggiano was also terrible in 13 at-bats, dropping his BA by 36 points and striking out eight times as well.

TJ Rivera had a stunning .091 BA for the week but somehow managed to get an RBI.

Joe Panik got his act together by the end of the week, but still hit .111 in five games.

Luis Valbuena went without a hit in 17 at-bats but also had an RBI. His BA plummeted from .265 to .176.

Jace Peterson hit .125 for the somehow-second-place-Braves with nine K’s.


Dishonorable Mentions

Joe Musgrove is hit or miss. Should I drop him from my fantasy team? I’m leaning yes.

Chad Kuhl had a terrible Tuesday but bounced back yesterday against the Phillies.

Marc Andre-Fleury shutout the Senators last Monday, then allowed four goals on nine shots Wednesday before being pulled in the first period.


Got anyone to add? Write ‘em in the comments.


*Stats week of May 15-21


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Players Who Sucked This Week

I’m back after forgetting to do last week’s list, and there are a ton of baseball players on the list. Like what-the-heck-happened-to-these-players-last-week a ton.



Craig Anderson let up 11 goals in three games last week, losing two of them. With a .867 SV% in those three starts, he’s the lone hockey player on this week’s list.

The Oilers’ defense allowed 64 shots against Talbot Friday night and lost in double overtime; eight Anaheim skaters had 5 or more shots on goal. They got it together last night, beating the Ducks to force Game 7.



There weren’t any consistently terrible performers last week except some guy Dejounte Murray. Of note, Harden went 3-17 from the field in Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs.



Nick Tepesch didn’t last two innings before allowing 7 runs against the Red Sox Friday night.

The face you make after the two worst outings of your career.

Brett Anderson was any-word-you-can-think-of awful on the mound last week. In two starts he didn’t last two total innings, gave up 12 runs on 13 hits, and was credited with two losses. His ERA jumped from 3.54 to 8.18. This is mean, but maybe it’s a good thing he’s currently on the DL.

Jered Weaver is just terrible this year. No really, check out his game log.

Matt Belisle and Justin Haley combined for 10 runs in the 9th inning Sunday afternoon, 7 of them earned. The Twins ended up losing 17-6 instead of a respectable 7-6.

Mike Foltynewicz, Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer, Kyle Kendrick, Nick Martínez, Trevor Bauer, Jameson Taillon, Mat Latos, Matt Moore, Marcus Stroman and Ian Kennedy all had a crappy start last week. They didn’t help any fantasy owners.

Ty Blach got his second start after a solid outing against the Padres (well duh), and really messed it up. Like three innings, 11 hits, eight earned runs, two homers, and a walk messed up.

Miguel Diaz was every hitter’s dream come true last week. In three appearances he pitched 2 ⅔ innings, gave up 10 total runs on seven hits, and walked four guys. His ERA is now 10.67.

Matt Cain pitched atrocious last Friday. I think he may have celebrated the Mexican holiday before the game because how else do you rationalize 10 hits, nine runs, and six walks in 3 ⅓ innings of work?

Basically sums up Cain’s career post-2013.

Brad Ziegler made two appearances and lost both. The worse one came Friday night when he gave up five runs without getting a batter out and the Marlins lost 8-7. Maybe he went out with Cain.

Luke Gregerson wasn’t quite as bad as Ziegler overall, but consistently sucked in both appearances. He allowed five runs between the two games, gave up five hits, but escaped both without a loss.

Cesar Valdez nearly matched Sonny Gray’s box score last Tuesday with five hits, four runs, and three home runs…except Valdez did it in one inning instead of six.

Austin Pruitt screwed up Blake Snell’s last start, giving up five runs on seven hits in the 6th inning which led to the Marlins beating the Rays at home.

Josh Collmenter helped contribute to three losses for the Braves last week, giving up six runs over four innings of relief work. But who’s worse was Matt Wisler, giving up seven runs in less than two innings.

Dylan Covey gave up six runs in each of his starts, had a WHIP of 2.16, and lost both.

Abraham Almonte, Chris Heisey, and Austin Hedges all went hitless last week. Yup, not even one basehit.

Danny Espinosa also went hitless, but his streak goes back to April 28. His season BA sits at .147.

What did Matt Wieters, Carlos Gonzalez, Christian Vazquez, Kelby Tomlinson, Jackie Bradley Jr., Ryan Flaherty, Yasmany Tomas, and Russell Martin all have in common last week? Getting just one hit in 10 or more at bats.

Carlos Gomez and Shin-Soo Choo both managed four hits in 25+ at bats last week.

Steven Souza Jr. collected two hits in 17 at-bats, struck out seven times, and dropped his average 27 points in the slumping process. The Rays season looks pretty similar to his stat line.

Jason Heyward hasn’t improved much from last year, and he only got worse in his last five games going 1-13.


Dishonorable Mentions

Jeremy Hellickson wasn’t awful but really didn’t pitch that great in two starts. He didn’t make it through the 5th inning in both and gave up nine runs in nearly as many innings.

John Gibson played well in his first two starts winning both against the Oilers, but then allowed three goals on six attempts to start yesterday’s game. Jonathan Bernier didn’t help by allowing two more in the first, then another two before they lost 7-1.


Got anyone to add? Write ‘em in the comments.


Stats week of May 1-7


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