Add Kyrie Irving to the growing list of those unimpressed with LaVar Ball’s level of involvement in his son Lonzo Ball’s basketball affairs. The Cavaliers’ All-Star point guard made an appearance on Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye’s Road Trippin’ UNINTERRUPTED podcast on Friday, where he said the talented point guard’s father should “let go” and “let Lonzo be Lonzo.”
"I'm sorry, LaVar, you're not going to be in every hotel room that Lonzo is going to be in," Irving said. "You're not going to be everywhere and part of his life as he continues to grow up. You got to let go. He's 19 years old. Don't get me wrong—I don't want it to bypass him being a father, but he's got to let Lonzo be Lonzo for the long haul."
Lonzo Ball declared for the NBA Draft after an impressive rookie season leading the UCLA Bruins to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He is projected as a top-two pick, alongside Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, after averaging 14 points, 7.6 assists, and six rebounds on 41.2 percent three-point shooting last year.
But Lonzo’s father, LaVar, has made more headlines off the court than his son has made on it. LaVar Ball has consistently sought the spotlight, saying almost anything to generate buzz around his son. Most notably, he sought a $1 billion shoe endorsement deal for the three of his sons — Lonzo, Liangelo, and LaMelo — which played a part in each Nike, adidas, and Under Armour turning away from a top prospect for the first time in history.
LaVar Ball also took a slight jab at LeBron James, suggesting his kids wouldn’t be successful basketball players because they’d be playing in the shadow of an all-time great. Irving said Ball’s constant rambunctious comments wouldn’t earn his son any favor on the floor.
“We've seen people be implemented into the spotlight, and it just draws an even bigger target on them," Irving said. "We've seen it."
Ball may not want to take Kobe Bryant’s advice, but Irving is someone he should heed. After all, it wasn’t too long ago Cleveland’s super scorer was in Ball’s shoes: A one-and-done entering the NBA as the top point guard in his draft class.
So while LaVar may be set in his own ways, it may be smart to listen to Kyrie: “Let Lonzo be Lonzo for the long haul.”