The reputation his father, LaVar Ball, began to develop during Lonzo’s lone season at UCLA only continued to permeate the national media after the Bruins exited the NCAA tournament. The narrative eventually shifted to LaVar’s potential to hamper Lonzo’s draft stock.
With the NBA draft less than two weeks away – and Father’s Day around the corner – the family began to do something about it.
Lonzo was featured in a Father’s Day Foot Locker commercial released Wednesday designed to poke fun at his father. While top draft prospects Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox and Jonathan Isaac listed stereotypical sacrifices made by fathers, Ball ticked off a long list of LaVar’s dubious deeds over the last few months.
On Friday, Lonzo was singing another tune. In a Father’s Day letter written for the Players’ Tribune, Lonzo dug deep to praise LaVar on a number of fronts. In a tactful manner, he explained why some of the things for which LaVar has been criticized make him the man that guided Lonzo to the brink of being a top three pick in the June 22 NBA draft.
Lonzo acknowledged his father’s flaws, but also made clear that the LaVar the public knows isn’t the same person Lonzo knows.
While the Lakers have maintained LaVar does not factor into their decision of what to do with the No. 2 pick, other NBA executives have said LaVar’s inclusion in the package is a problem. Showing the savvy to make fun of his father in a good natured way and also offer genuine praise for him couldn’t have hurt the concerns of the NBA teams thinking about drafting Lonzo.