LiAngelo Ball calls his dad's JBA league 'a step back'


To hear LaVar Ball tell it, he taught his kids how to be the best basketball players in the world.

Cynics might say he should have focused his efforts on teaching his boys about things like the dangers of shoplifting.

It also sounds like he failed to teach them about brand loyalty.

You might remember the uproar Lonzo Ball created last year en route to being named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP while not wearing his father’s Big Baller Brand sneakers.

Last week, LiAngelo Ball went unchosen in the NBA draft, despite working out for teams like the Lakers and Warriors.

WSJ Reporter Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison, Employer Calls It a 'Disgraceful, Sham Conviction'

Seemingly at a career crossroads at the ripe old age of 19, LiAngelo Ball not only announced that he won’t be playing in the Junior Basketball Association — the league his father founded — he also slammed it in the process.

The former (sort of) UCLA player told that he’s too good for the JBA.

“Right now, I’m taking it day by day,” Ball said. “I’ll be willing to play in the G-League and get moved up from there. That’s an option. I’m not going to play in the JBA. I feel like that’s taking a step back for me. If I have to play in the G-League then that’s what it’s going to be. I’m not running away from the work.”

Pretty bold words for a guy who no NBA team is signing even for their summer league, and who has yet to play in anything higher than a Lithuanian “B” league.

Will LiAngelo Ball ever play in the NBA?

It was in that league, Ball said, that he learned about taking his game seriously.

“I just saw that I have to go into the game with a high level of focus and be ready to go my hardest every time I step on the floor because it’s no joke over there,” he said. “If you’re messing around, they can fire you. That’s the biggest thing I learned and I brought that mentality back here.”

Ball played 15 games in Lithuania, averaging 12.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

While LiAngelo Ball, his younger brother LaMelo — who may be the best of the three Ball brothers — played in the JBA opener, and not surprisingly, dominated.

Watch: Batboy's Quick Reflexes Save His Team's $700 Million Investment

Despite playing before thousands of empty seats, LaVar Ball insisted he was happy with the first weekend of play of his new league.

Apparently, that excitement doesn’t carry over to each member of his family.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, ,
Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
Topics of Expertise