ESPN Reportedly Is Done with LaVar Ball for Good


ESPN apparently has decided it’s had enough of the outspoken LaVar Ball, father of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball.

Network officials told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch that “The Worldwide Leader” is done with Ball after comments he made to “First Take” host Molly Qerim Rose during an appearance Monday.

“There will be no LaVar Ball on any ESPN platform heading forward — at least as of now,” Deitsch tweeted Wednesday.

“Asked if Ball will be used as an on-air guest, an on-the-record source for digital, or a background source for ESPN, an ESPN spokesperson said, ‘We have no plans moving forward,'” he said.

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Many wondered what took the network so long.

Others said ESPN, along with other media outlets, shouldn’t have given him so much attention in the first place.

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The breaking point came on “First Take” when Ball made a remark to Qerim Rose, wife of ESPN’s Jalen Rose, that network officials called “completely inappropriate.”

It was in response to a question Qerim Rose had for Ball.

“LaVar, can I switch gears with you because I have a question here?” she asked.

“You can switch gears with me anytime,” Ball responded.

“Oh Lord,” co-host Stephen A. Smith could be heard saying in exasperation.

Qerim Rose brushed it off, saying, “Let’s stay focused here.”

But at the end of the show she appeared to make a reference to it with the comment, “If anyone’s calling HR today, it’s me.”

Ball’s camp later denied that the comment was sexual in nature.

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“[LaVar] was asked if he wanted to switch gears, in his mind switching gears was ‘changing the subject anytime’ and he said, ‘yes, you can switch gears with me anytime.’ At NO time was that intended or meant to be sexual in nature,” Ball representative Denise White said in a statement, TMZ Sports reported.

In 2017, Ball was blasted for a comment he made to Fox Sports host Kristine Leahy, then of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” Ball told Leahy to “stay in your lane” after she asked him about how many Big Baller Brand shoes he had sold.

While ESPN’s decision is a welcome move to many sports fan who have grown tired of Ball’s act, it might be most beneficial for his sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, who won’t have to deal the distractions he often causes.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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