I am not a huge sports fan and can barely name athletes if I did not give birth to them or they are not dating someone on one of the reality shows I have seen. Pitiful, I know but it is who I am; my interest in things sports only goes up if there is a juicy tidbit included. Moreover, by "juicy" I mean if said player loves his Mama and talks about her in interviews or I see an ESPN 30 for 30 episode about them.
I kept hearing about LaVar Ball, his sons, and their sportsline Big Baller Brand but didn’t know them, so I kept scrolling. Per my timeline, LaVar was a loud father who did not know much about anything, was ruining his son's careers and was a fool for not signing with Nike instead opting to create his brand.
I clicked play on "Ball in the Family", their Facebook reality show on a Friday night when Netflix had nothing to offer me, and from episode one I was engaged. I enjoy watching family dynamics and this family has lots of love for each other. LaVar and Tina met in college and had three sons; Lonzo the leader, LiAngelo the middle laid back one, and LaMelo the youngest wild card who marches to the beat of his drum.
The Ball family dreamed of NBA life for all three sons and relentlessly worked to get there. They got their most significant plot twist when Tina had a stroke right before Lonzo signed to the Lakers. LaVar personally nurses her back to health with his method of speech and physical therapy. I do not know about all of you, but this has every element of must-see-TV for this girl.
I am a middle child, so I connect with Gelo. Plot twist number 2 came for the Ball family when Gelo was arrested for shoplifting LV sunglasses in China. My heart broke, and the world weighed in and concluded that this was the end for the Ball Family, but LaVar found a way. Gelo and Melo skipped college ball altogether and are now professional players in Lithuania.
LaVar interviews are entertaining to watch; he has an answer for everything and believes everything he says and doesn’t care if you do not. His recent interview in Lithuania ahead of his son’s first game was not as animated as usual and gave me life lesson number 5,831. The interviewer asks LaVar if his sons are nervous. LaVar responds, “No, they are not nervous, and you all are trying to make them nervous.” “But they are in Lithuania,” the interviewer says still trying to sway LaVar who responds, “I do not care if they were on the moon, they are playing basketball in a gym.”
Mr. Interviewer refuses to be deterred and continues by pointing out how they do not know any of their teammates and LaVar does not skip one beat with his response, “They do not have to know them. When you go to an open gym you do not know any of those guys on the court, you just pick five guys and say let’s go.” “But they are not in their comfort zone,” Mr. Interviewer continues, and the ever-ready LaVar says, “As long as my boys are playing, they are in their comfort zone. You are making a big deal. All you have to say is pass the ball and shoot. It ain’t that hard.” I am likening this interview to a ping pong match, and I am ready for the next hit. Mr. Interviewer points out that Melo is 16 and will be playing with 33-year-olds and LaVar counterpoints that Melo was playing with 17-year-olds when he was 12, and there is no difference now. Mr. interviewer finally relents and asks if he believes the Ball boys will be successful to which LaVar drops the mic and unequivocally responds, “They will be very successful in entertaining everyone in Lithuania. Basketball is universal.”
This five-minute interview did something to my spirit and had me feeling like I had just sat through a church service/"Super Soul Sunday" episode/"Iyanla: Fix My Life" episode and Deepak Chopra meditation session. It spoke to me. I thought of all the ways we allow the noise AKA the opinions of others to sway us from what we already know. We allow the doubts of others to make us doubtful where we were once so sure. We allow people to talk us out of our dreams and plans after we have made them. What LaVar Ball knows without an ounce of doubt is that he has raised three sons who can play basketball and are great at it. He has mastered the art of silencing the noise and sticking to what he knows. I am putting him up there right next to Jesus, Oprah, Iyanla, and Beyonce. I will ask myself what he would do, the next time doubt creeps up on me and I need to make a significant life decision. In 2018 and onward, I will be like LaVar.