When you reach the palatial estate of LaVar Ball, there is absolutely no denying whose home it is. The sprawling estate has ‘BBB’’ etched right beneath the roof’s gable, an homage to a family brand lineage that LaVar Ball has so meticulously crafted since the birth of his sons. Back in 2017, many people believed LaVar Ball to be, at worst, crazy, and, at best – an overbearing father. Fast forward five years later, and LaVar Ball must feel like a prophet. Fully executing the vision, he sat out for his three sons well before the Ball family name became mainstream.
No matter how you may contextualize the careers of each Ball brother thus far, Lavar Ball had a vision for his sons and did everything in his willpower to assist. In early November, we spent an afternoon with him as a select group of exclusive members, courtesy of HEIR, paid a visit to the Ball residence. HEIR is a Web3 platform founded by Michael Jordan’s son, Jeffrey Jordan. LaVar was hospitable as ever, placing the group through the exact workout that Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo each went through in pursuit of their lifelong dream, and he even cooked (in his words) his “world famous chili.”
Everything you could imagine LaVar Ball to be – he was that and then some, and he’s still as candid as ever, like being completely honest about his feelings towards the Los Angeles Lakers and exploring the prospects of his youngest son LaMelo ever donning the purple and gold.
“Common sense would tell you, hell no,” LaVar tells Complex. “You did something to my boy Lonzo, and you think I’m going to come back with the others? I gotta be stone-cold crazy.”
We caught up with LaVar Ball in Chinos Hills to talk about LaMelo’s career so far, the ultimate desire he has for his sons and his partnership with HEIR.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
We’re at your home for a special occasion courtesy of HEIR, can you talk to me a bit about your partnership with them?
With HEIR, I like their motto, which is: ‘they’re one of us.’ My boy Lonzo deals with them, so if he’s dealing with something, so I’ll deal with it.
Taking things back to 2017, Lonzo coming out in the draft, a lot of people drug your name through the mud and said you were going about things the wrong way. Fast forward five years later, and it seems that everything you predicted came to fruition.
Well, you gotta figure what people drug my name through the mud – I don’t slide through no mud. I slipped through some water, but not no mud. All seriousness, I don’t pay that no mind. The fact is, the proof is in the pudding.
Do you feel vindicated at all?
Nah. I don’t need no vindication from anybody. I’m like HEIR: family, [my family] the only people I have to adjust to.
Speaking of family, I always love how connected you are to your family. If you had to give a letter grade to Lamelo’s early career thus far, what would you give it?
Letter grade for Melo’s career? A “C”.
Why a “C”?
Because the only way to get an “A” would be to be with all his brothers. I’ve seen the best from [Melo]. This is nothing. I had the JBA, this boy averaged a triple-double. thirty-forty points, running loose. I’ve seen this show. [Charlotte] ain’t let him loose yet. How you going to let him loose if you believed there are some other guys in front of him first, and they gotta get hurt before Melo play?
So when you hear the rumors and internet speculation of LaMelo ultimately finding his way west and playing at home for the Lakers when you consider how things ended with Lonzo, would you want LaMelo in a Lakers uniform?
Common sense would tell you, hell no. You did something to my boy Lonzo, and you think I’m going to come back with the others? I gotta be stone-cold crazy.
So you’re saying you wouldn’t want LaMelo to be a Laker?
No. I wanted Melo to be a Laker before that ship done sailed. You get rid of ‘Zo and you think I’m going to come back? I’m not that type of foolish guy.
So what would be the perfect situation for LaMelo down the line?
What you mean, what is the perfect situation? Ain’t no situation. It’s going to happen, all three of them are going to play on the same team; and when it happens, folks are going to go crazy.
Oh, so we’re still on that? All of your sons teaming up, you believe it’s still going to happen?Why couldn’t it still happen? At some point, all of their contracts are over, and they come up at the same time; you don’t think they’re going to make the decision to be together?
So this isn’t a dream?
It’s going to happen. Ball boys are good for business.
So, what team would you want to see all three of them together? We know it’s not the Lakers… we can scratch that off the list.
It ain’t even about the team. It’s about the coaching. Who’s going to let all my boys do what they do?
Who’d be the perfect coach for your boys?
Shit, me. What you mean? I’ll turn my boys loose. My boys, together, could average 40 points a quarter with ease. You’d have to score 160 points to beat them. I’d be the first coach to start pressing – somebody going to get tired. Every time they press in the NBA, somebody turns the ball over. Could you imagine doing that the entire game?
My boys had to get to the NBA to become losers, and they’re getting very good at it on the teams they’re on. They’re going to lose when they’re by themselves because they can’t make everybody play like them.”
Okay, so between Lonzo and LaMelo, who do you feel is by themselves more?
They’re all the same; they’re cut from the same cloth – [but] y’all keep leaving off Gelo. That’s the middle piece. You cut off the middle piece, it doesn’t work good. When some of these guys finally get it – and say, the key to this is got-dang, Gelo! Gelo helped Lonzo average a triple-double. JBA and overseas, Gelo was the one who helped Melo. They ain’t figured it out yet? Gelo is going to get his shot.
Do you ever feel that a lot of that resistance is retribution towards you and how you present yourself?
It might be; I don’t care. When you got your own brand, you don’t worry about that.