LaVar Ball's Lithuania experiment officially failed and his sons will pay for it


Not everyone is meant to be a parent, even if they have children.

Some parents are more than prepared for the task. They’re loving, nurturing and supportive of their kids, while still providing the discipline and structure that children desperately need.

Other parents are less than ideal when it comes to raising children, but that’s not a knock. There is no substitute for experience, particularly when it comes to something as important as being a parent. Ideally, these unprepared parents learn from their mistakes and improve as time passes.

Then, there’s LaVar Ball.

The outspoken patriarch of the Ball clan has never been shy about his particular brand of braggadocio. As obnoxious and toxic as LaVar can be, he’s an adult and is wont to act and behave as he pleases.

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But when LaVar’s antics start to affect his middle and youngest sons? That, more so than anything else LaVar has ever said or acted on, is easily the most reprehensible thing he’s ever done, which is saying something.

LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, his middle and youngest sons, respectively, have both allowed their professional futures to be dictated by LaVar, and it’s starting to look bleak for them. Lonzo, the eldest Ball son, had enough talent to overcome his father’s eccentricities and become the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. LiAngelo and LaMelo don’t have the luxury of Lonzo’s preternatural skills.

LiAngelo was pulled out of UCLA and LaMelo was taken out of high school after LaVar infamously feuded with their respective coaches. To best prepare them for futures in the NBA, LaVar took his sons to Lithuania, where they could play professional basketball for BC Vytautas Prienai of the Lithuanian Basketball League.

Now, LaVar is pulling his kids out of BC Vytautas Prienai even though the regular season is not yet over. And he’s pulling them out for a reason that is starting to become comically repetitive — LaVar clashed with BC Vytautas Prienai coach Virginijus Seskus over LaMelo’s playing time.

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“We’re not going to waste our time no more,” LaVar told Lithuanian basketball reporter Donatas Urbonas.

“I just didn’t get along with the coach,” LaVar added, noting that he appreciated the hospitality of the team and Lithuania in general.

BC Vytautas Prienai seemed grateful for the Balls, regardless of the somewhat acrimonious ending.

The worst part of it all is that, for all intents and purposes, LiAngelo and LaMelo aren’t any closer to fulfilling their father’s prophecy of all three Ball brothers playing in the NBA.

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LiAngelo played decently when given a chance, but is still light years away from being an actual NBA prospect. Despite declaring for the draft, LiAngelo is not expected to be one of the 60 players to hear their name called at the podium.

LaMelo’s situation is more worrisome, considering that he actually had some semblance of NBA buzz as a 16-year old prospect. Now? People are speculating he actually took a step back in his development.

“I’m kind of scared about Melo because he was not playing much this season. He didn’t play at a high level, and Coach Seskus is never known for good practices. So, I’m afraid it was like a setback here for LaMelo,” Urbonas told USA Today’s For The Win.

“Whatever. It’s unacceptable. Kids want to play pro but is it an example how to behave? LaVar loves his family but he doesn’t understand that 16yr old kid can’t fully play at strong pro league. That’s the worst,” Seskus told Urbonas.

“But (LaMelo) also has to understand that you have to play defense a bit,” Seskus added, citing one of the most frequently mentioned criticisms against LaMelo. The youngest Ball’s lack of defense has been a lingering criticism and one of the primary reasons Seskus never played him.

So to recap, LaVar yanked his sons out of their schools, home and country to expedite a path to the NBA. Instead, LiAngelo is no closer to the NBA than if had he just stayed at UCLA. LaMelo may have actually gotten worse and basically hasn’t played true competitive basketball in about a year. And LaVar’s reputation took yet another hit for yet another dumb clash with his sons’ coach.

At least they still have their Facebook show.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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