Outside of doing everything he can to promote his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo, LaVar Ball is also the coach for the Big Ballers AAU team. And over the course of the last week, LaVar has been getting into it with referees during AAU games left and right.
During a game at the Double Pump Best of Summer Tournament in California last weekend, LaVar argued with a referee over a foul call and, according to USA Today Sports, questioned the referee’s manhood and directed an expletive at him, which basically forced the referee to give him a technical foul. LaVar was so upset about it that he took his team and walked off the court in the middle of the game, even though they were up by 9 points at the time. He later explained that he felt as though the refs "were cheating."
LaVar’s behavior was a little bit better when the Big Ballers AAU team headed to Las Vegas a few days later to take part in the Adidas Summer Championships. He seemed to enjoy all of the attention that LaMelo’s epic matchup with Zion Williamson earned him, so he didn’t fuss as much at the refs that game as he did during the one in California.
But it appears as though LaVar was back at it again on Friday during a subsequent Adidas Summer Championships game. During the first half of Big Ballers’ game against Team BBC, LaVar got into it with a female referee who was working the game. She responded by hitting him with a technical, which set him off. He yelled, "We need to get someone else in here," and he threatened to pull his team off the court if Adidas didn’t comply with his request. And in a somewhat puzzling move, Adidas ended up pulling the ref from the game and replacing her with a different ref.
But the trouble didn’t end there. With a new ref in place, LaVar managed to pick up another technical later in the game, and when he was asked to leave, he wouldn’t go. So the event organizers decided to pull the plug on the contest and award a win to Team BBC since they were leading 53-43 at the time of LaVar’s second outburst.
After the game, the female ref declined to speak with ESPN about what took place during the game. But LaVar was, of course, more than happy to tell his side of the story.
"She’s got a vendetta," he said. "I get that she’s trying to break into the refereeing thing. But just giving techs and calling fouls, that’s no way to do it. I know what she’s trying to say. 'Oh, I gave LaVar a tech, I’m strong.' That ain’t got nothing to do with it. Just call the game. If you’re going to be qualified, you better be in shape and you better know the game. And she’s bad on both of them. She’s not in shape, she’s not calling the game right. And she don’t understand. And now she’s trying to make a name for herself, so she’s walking around like, 'You know, I’m the only woman in here.' Yeah, we get it. I don’t care if you’re a woman or a man or whatever, just be good at what you do."
LaVar added: "She needs to stay in her lane because she ain’t ready for this. [Ref] the little kids first and then come up. Because she ain’t did enough. She ain’t got enough on her résumé. I could tell."
"Stay in your lane" is the phrase LaVar used during an on-air confrontation with Fox Sports 1 radio host Kristine Leahy back in May. He later used the phrase on the front of Big Baller Brand t-shirts,
Adidas organizers didn’t explain why they removed the ref from the game and would only say that there was a "miscommunication." But former NBA ref Ed Rush, who runs the company that supplies refs for the Adidas tournament, argued against LaVar saying the ref in question had a "vendetta" against him. He pointed out that she usually works women’s basketball games and hasn’t refereed enough of LaVar’s games to have a grudge with him.
To be fair, LaVar seemed to have an issue with all of the referees involved in the game, not just the female one. He’s also now had several run-ins with referees in the last week alone. But his comments after Friday’s game aren’t going to sit well with a lot of people, and he’s probably going to have an even bigger target on his back the next time he’s coaching a game.
ESPN has also reported that "officials with Adidas had pressured referees at their Summer Championships event in Las Vegas to avoid calling technical fouls against LaVar Ball because of his drawing power and their potential courtship of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball." Seems that Ball's antics were just too much for the ref.