LaVar Ball has been a fixture at most of the Lakers’ home games at Staples Center so far this NBA season, and as the Ball family patriarch has been known to do, he’s been more than happy to conduct interviews with reporters before, during, and after many of those games. From going off on Clippers guard Patrick Beverley for talking trash to his son Lonzo after the Lakers’ season-opening game to calling out Julius Randle for not passing to Lonzo at the end of a game against the Warriors last week, LaVar has made headlines for saying all sorts of things while being interviewed. But it sounds like those interviews at Staples Center might be limited moving forward.
On Monday, ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported that the Lakers are going to start enforcing what is being billed as the "LaVar Ball rule." The rule prohibits reporters and other members of the media from gathering in the section that is reserved for the friends, families, and agents of Lakers players during games, and it will prevent a reporter from being able to freely walk up to someone like LaVar to conduct an interview. All interviews that are conducted in that specific area, as well as interviews conducted near the tunnel that leads back to the arena corridors, will now be forbidden.
LaVar is, of course, being blamed for this new rule, and to some degree, the Big Baller Brand CEO does deserve some of the blame for it. A Lakers team spokesperson told ESPN there "has been more media presence in that area" this season than in previous seasons. But the rule isn’t actually new. Like many other NBA teams, the Lakers have had this policy in place for quite some time now, and it’s designed to allow those closest to the Lakers players to enjoy their Staples Center experience without having to worry about being pestered by media members. "It’s a privacy concern," the Lakers spokesperson told ESPN.
We should point out, though, that this policy will not necessarily prevent LaVar from talking to reporters who ask for a minute of his time. Rather, it will simply force reporters to either catch LaVar in a different part of the Staples Center or contact him in a way that doesn’t violate the Lakers’ policy. Shortly after Haynes released his report about the "LaVar Ball rule," his ESPN colleague Ramona Shelburne took to Twitter to break down the policy for those who are under the impression that the Lakers are going to use it to silence LaVar.
Shelburne even went as far as to point out there are "plenty of ways to reach LaVar," which means we’ll all be hearing a lot more from him in the future, "LaVar Ball rule" or not. But the longtime ESPN reporter said the enforcement of the rule could affect how much access media members get to other players’ friends and families, and she pointed out that it could have a real effect on their work. At the same time, she admitted the media is partly to blame for the Lakers taking this step.
At the end of the day, we wouldn’t expect the "LaVar Ball rule" to limit the amount of LaVar Ball content that’s out there on an almost daily basis. It will prevent LaVar from holding court on the actual Staples Center court like he did when he went off on Beverley while the ESPN cameras rolled, but it won’t stop reporters from finding other ways to get to him for quotes.