LaMelo Ball’s youth basketball career has been an illustrious history of father LaVar helping him quit.
First it was high school, when LaVar pulled LaMelo out of Chino Hills High School and brought him and brother LiAngelo to Lithuania to play professionally.
Next, it was Lithuania itself, as LaVar pulled his two younger sons off the team to go home to Los Angeles.
Well, it seems now that LaMelo has finally found a place to play basketball where his father won’t be arguing with the powers that be, because his father is the powers that be.
That’s right, LaMelo Ball is about to become the face of the Ball Family’s Junior Basketball Association, the elite fourth choice available to young star recruits behind the NCAA, the NBA G-League and Europe.
LaMelo will suit up for the Los Angeles squad when they open their season on June 21 at Citizens Business Bank Arena against the league’s Houston-based team.
“Melo got the opportunity to play against international competition and experienced the game from a different perspective while in Lithuania,” LaVar Ball told Slam Online. “Now he’s able to come back to the States and remind people why he was the most talked about high school player in the world before he left. It’s time to take it to another level now.”
Earl Watson, the former NBA player and disgraced Suns coach fired just days into the 2017-18 season, served on the selection committee for the JBA’s tryouts, and he can’t wait to get the new league off the ground.
“The JBA model is the first of its kind that will offer young athletes an opportunity to develop life skills management while participating in a high level of competition,” Watson said. “I am thrilled to be a part of this innovative new league that will not only engage fans, but provide a professional alternative for young basketball players.”
Well, one supposes it is a “first-of-its-kind model,” if you don’t count the organization that gives kids with basketball talent a free college education and a level of competition and exposure that CBS/Turner pay billions of dollars to televise.
LaVar Ball has spent most of his time since he first announced the JBA last December getting rejected by top recruits, who opted for college or the G-League and laughed when asked about the JBA.
He also has no announced rosters, no arena promotion from the arena in which the league is playing its inaugural game and no TV contract. Really, he has nothing but a lot of boasting and a couple of guys in Watson and former college standout Ed O’Bannon who are probably happy to take his money and serve in an advisory role.
Which, in turn, leads one to wonder just what the opening game of the JBA is going to look like.
Because as it stands now, all LaMelo Ball has is a dad talking him up.
He has no high school education, no college eligibility and no true overseas experience that wasn’t staged. Indeed, all he has is a commitment to play in a league that may or may not actually exist.
Maybe he can go live with older brother Lonzo, the only member of the Ball family with obvious and tangible assets at this point, thanks to that eight-figure rookie deal he signed when the Lakers picked him second overall in 2017.
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