*LeBron James put his foot down Tuesday with LaVar Ball, the former professional athlete and outspoken father of three basketball phenoms — including star UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball.
Ball has made headlines recently for chirping constantly about the althetic prowess of his kids, including 18-year-old LiAngelo and 15-year-old LaMelo, both of whom will attend UCLA on scholarships in the coming years.
During an interview earlier this month on the podcast “In the Zone with Chris Broussard,” Ball argued that his children are set up better for future success than those of James’ kids, because the four-time NBA MVP’s pedigree will be too much for them to live up to.
“The monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn’t that good,” Ball said. “They were OK, they was players, but the fact that the old [Dell] Curry wasn’t no All-Star, he wasn’t cold. He could shoot the ball, though. Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that, that’s why he’s such a monster.
“You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad.’ And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?’ And then they are going to be like, ‘Aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
Asked about the comment by ESPN Tuesday, James said of Ball: “Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth. This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.”
“I actually like his son,” James said of Lonzo Ball. “I like his game.”
But Lonzo’s dad, though, is put on notice.
“He can talk all about his brand, talk about his sons, talk about basketball, talk about me,” James told ESPN. “But keep my family out of this.”
James’ two sons, 12-year-old LeBron James Jr. and 9-year-old Bryce Maximus James, have shown plenty of promise on the AAU circuit — to the point where the eldest son, “Bronny,” has standing verbal scholarship offers from Duke and Kentucky, as ESPN reported last summer.
LaVar Ball also has said he was good enough to “kill” Michael Jordan one-on-one in his prime, which would seem to punch a hole in his theory that his sons are better off because their father was not an all-time great.