LaVar Ball says a lot of things. He said he could beat Michael Jordan in his prime one-on-one, he said his oldest son Lonzo would be better than Stephen Curry, and he said his three sons would combine to sign shoe deals worth $1 billion. These boasts have earned Papa Ball a great deal of attention and a great deal of criticism, though it’s worth noting that he really hasn’t been any sort of distraction during the first few years of Lonzo’s NBA career.
LaVar Ball has also said that his three sons would make the NBA. After the Charlotte Hornets selected youngest son LaMelo Ball with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Lonzo and LaMelo became the first set of brothers to ever become top-five NBA draft picks. That only left one son looking for an NBA gig — middle child LiAngelo.
Gelo, as he’s known, had enough talent to earn a scholarship from UCLA but was never seen as a future NBA player. His college career ended before he started amid controversy during a team trip to China, and he’s been searching for opportunities in the game ever since.
Now he’s found one: LiAngelo Ball signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. All three Ball brothers now have NBA contracts.
Gelo signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Pistons, which means the team retains his G League rights if he doesn’t make the squad out of training camp.
Does this mean LaVar’s big prophecy has come true? Kind of! Here’s a quote from LaVar from earlier this year:
“I see my boys, in the near future man, they’re going to be the face of the NBA. Everybody’s trying to create the big three. They’ve been the big three since they’ve been babies. And people are telling me ‘Man, you know the odds of all three of your boys being on the same team?’ and I say ‘Yeah, probably the same odds of me coming into the NBA with my own brand.’ Don’t tell me nothing about no odds.”
Yes, the Ball brothers have a long way to go before becoming the ‘face of the NBA.’ There are still long odds for LiAngelo Ball playing in an NBA game. Lonzo’s career to this point has been a bit underwhelming for a former No. 2 overall draft pick, but he’s a quality player who continues to improve for the New Orleans Pelicans. We had LaMelo has as the top prospect in the most recent draft class, and he should have every opportunity to prove his talent for the Hornets.
Regardless of what you think about LaVar, it’s unprecedented to raise two top-five draft picks plus another son on an NBA contract. It’s even more impressive when you consider LaVar wasn’t all that great of an athlete himself, never making it past the practice squad with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL.
LaVar and his wife Tina must have been doing something right to get three kids on NBA deals. While LaVar’s big predictions have mostly come up short over the last few years, he deserves to celebrate this one.