Lonzo Ball and the Lakers are playing the 76ers for the first time tonight on ESPN at 10:30 ET as the second game of the week’s double header. We’re all very excited about this game and not because of anything on the court.
LaVar Ball hasn’t been shy about clamoring for his son over the last few months, and that has rubbed some NBA players the wrong way, including some on the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite Joel Embiid’s recent praise of Lonzo Ball, it doesn’t feel like it’s always been love between the two.
Here’s how it all started. Hint: It wasn’t LaVar Ball this time!
May 18: Ben Simmons’ sister requested he dunk on Lonzo Ball to make LaVar Ball sad
The first shot wasn’t thrown by any player in this situation or even LaVar Ball. Instead, it was Ben Simmons’ sister Olivia who was fed up with LaVar Ball. Like many people, she was miffed by the way Ball treated FS1 host Kristine Leahy during an appearance on the network.
That prompted Olivia to fire off a tweet saying:
“Hope my brother dunks on lonzo ball so hard next year that his daddy runs on the court to help him up.”
Olivia Simmons has since deleted the tweet, but no matter — the stove was now hot.
June 4: Jerry Colangelo says the 76ers should beware of LaVar Ball
There was still a chance that the 76ers could draft Lonzo Ball third overall if the Lakers passed on the UCLA point guard, but it seemed highly unlikely.
Once Jerry Colangelo, consultant for the 76ers and father of team president Bryan Colangelo, called Ball and his family a “challenge” on WIP radio in Philadelphia, the thought of Ball playing in Philadelphia was all but dead.
I think Ball is a terrific prospect and could have an outstanding NBA future. I think it's going to be challenging with the people around him, without being specific. And yet, I don't think teams should bypass the player because they have those concerns. At the end of the day, what wins in this league is talent, and this is a very talented young man.
June 19: Markelle Fultz says he passed on Big Baller Brand
This was the first time an actual player said something that, depending on who you are, could be construed as a sneak-dis.
In an interview with the Washington Post shortly after signing a deal with Nike and three days before the NBA draft, Markelle Fultz and his trainer, Keith Williams, took a shot at Big Baller Brand, saying that he thought about signing with them, but was concerned about his pay.
“I was thinking about it, but then I would make him money, though,” Fultz said.
“Or lose them more money,” Williams said.
“I don’t know, honestly,” Fultz said about if he ever seriously considered Big Baller Brand.
It’s the slightest of sneak-disses and barely meets the minimum requirement. On a scale of Drake disses to Nas disses, this is definitely closer to Drake. But the shot was fired, either way.
June 22: LaVar Ball declares the Lakers are a playoff team
After LaVar Ball proclaimed that Zeus and Jesus both told him prior to the draft that Lonzo Ball would be a Laker, he also made the declaration that the Lakers would be going to the playoffs in his first year.
“Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs his first year,” LaVar said. “Come see me when he does. I’ll have another hat on that says ‘I told you so.’”
Luke Walton’s response: “Ehhhhhh,” basically.
Luke Walton on LaVar's playoff prediction: "Right now I want (Lonzo) to lead us to a couple of summer league victories."— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) June 23, 2017
No matter. LaVar spoke Lonzo to the Lakers into existence, and he was doing the same with his playoff prediction.
But not everyone was a believer.
June 22: Crazy pills on draft night
Ben Simmons wasn’t feeling LaVar Ball’s prediction. He mostly seemed to just not be feeling LaVar Ball in general. He took to Twitter to let us know how he felt.
Crazy pills— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) June 22, 2017
It doesn’t get more point blank than that. Joel Embiid was here for the trash talk, as always.
Please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.. https://t.co/cMvt5RYiSQ— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
How did the Ball family feel about it? Well, apparently, Lonzo Ball thought it was all funny.
Lonzo Ball's response, "That's funny" https://t.co/CkQOm4vk9p— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 23, 2017
Before saying that to Ramona Shelburne, Lonzo Ball had nothing to do with any of the beef brewing between the two teams. He was characteristically coy throughout the entire thing but still managed to get dragged into it.
Such is life as LaVar Ball’s son — it seems to be a gift and a curse.
June 29: LaVar Ball has had it
A week passes by after the draft and things are quiet. The draft is over and everyone is getting used to their new teams. Everyone is happy and we’re all excited to see the new roo— OH MY WORD THAT’S LAVAR BALL’S MUSIC!
LaVar Ball went on 975 The Fanatic in Philadelphia to sound off on Jerry Colangelo from nearly three weeks ago and the 76ers two stars who couldn’t seem to stay on the court. Just line the whole squad up -- LaVar was roasting whoever wanted it.
“He said, ‘I don’t like the people around Lonzo,’” Ball said about Colangelo. “That’s the one where I’m just like, OK, what have you done? All you did was for the USA team, and now your son is running a business there and you a so-called consultant. You a helicopter parent, over there trying to tell your son what to do.”
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE. Everybody is getting it, including the 76ers players who are, according to LaVar Ball, “worried about a dunk.”
“I say when you don’t win and don’t even make the playoffs and don’t even stay on the court long enough that’s the best thing you can do is tweet,” Ball said. “Ain’t nobody else doing that because they working on their game in the gym. These guys ain’t played a game, always at the bottom of the totem pole. So guess what? Get your asses off the god damn tweeter and get in the gym. As far as dunking on somebody, that’s why you can’t win, because you worried about getting a dunk.”
*insert flame emojis here*
July 5: Joel Embiid has had enough
Before pressing play, please understand that this next video is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
“Man, f*** Lavar Ball,” Embiid said on his Instagram feed. I don’t think it gets any clearer than that. Of course, Embiid received a fine for his language there.
Wow. Joel Embiid fined by the NBA for using inappropriate language on social media: pic.twitter.com/FmphCD0TNr— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 8, 2017
But that’s $10,000 well spent, if I do say so myself. He wasn’t done, either.
Oct. 25: Embiid mocks Lonzo Ball’s jump shot
The beef had settled down over the last few months. Since Embiid dropped his F-bomb, things had been silent. But, as always with beef, once it’s started it never really goes away. And as time goes by it becomes more and more petty.
How petty, you ask? Embiid mimicking Lonzo Ball’s awkward shot petty.
Man oh man. Where have I seen that before? Oh, that’s right! LeBron James went there before, too.
Poor Lonzo Ball.
Nov. 13: Joel Embiid declares it all love, (maybe?) ending the beef
In an interview with ESPN, Embiid said he doesn’t have any hate for Lonzo Ball. In fact, he said he loves what he’s doing so far in his first NBA season.
“I love Lonzo," Embiid said. "The whole situation with them, I think it's just fun. I love what he's doing, especially with his own shoe. He's staking his own place. People think I hate him, but I love him."
All good things must come to an end at some point and all beef must be settled. Will this resurface? Probably. But for now things seem to be all good. All I know is I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more petty during Wednesday night’s game and you should too.