LaVar Ball has a reason to be so confident. His oldest son, Lonzo Ball, is a freshman sensation at UCLA, rejuvenating the Bruins while making himself a top NBA draft prospect in the process. His youngest son, LaMelo, is generating just as much hype as a high school sophomore after scoring 92 points in a single game. His middle child, LiAngelo, is also a UCLA commit.
Papa Ball has a reputation for making bold statements that are as entertaining as they are outrageous. His latest claim might be his most audacious yet: Over the weekend, LaVar Ball said Lonzo is better than Steph Curry. Not in the future. Right now.
“I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing. He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”
If Lonzo and LaMelo are as good as everyone thinks they are, get ready for 20 years of LaVar Ball saying wild things. Here are his greatest hits so far.
Guaranteeing UCLA would win the national championship
It only took four games for LaVar Ball to be convinced UCLA would be cutting down the nets in Phoenix. During the Wooden Legacy Classic on Nov. 24, Ball guaranteed a national title for the Bruins.
“I’m going to tell you right now before you see it,” LaVar said. “UCLA is going to win the NCAA championship. You think I’m playing? Right here and right now. Guaranteed. Come see me when they win it.”
Saying the NBA will be easier for Lonzo than college
For as good as Lonzo has been at UCLA, his father thinks the NBA game will be better tailored to his skill set. In an interview with TMZ, Old Man Ball said he thinks Lonzo will have an easier time picking defenses apart in the NBA than he does in college.
“It’s going to get easier for Lonzo as we go. When he gets to the pros, the game is even faster and that’s when he’s at his best.
“You trade in Bryce (Alford) for D-Wade? Trade in (Isaac) Hamilton for Iguodala? Get away from TJ Leaf and give him Anthony Davis? C’mon, man.”
Saying all three of his kids will be one-and-dones
LaVar made this claim to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports on Dec. 15. Lonzo will be a one-and-done, so he’s a third of the way there.
It’s way too early to project what kind of player LaMelo will be in college, but it’s worth noting 247Sports rates him as the No. 3 recruit in the class of 2019. He certainly could be a one-and-done, even if that’s an incredibly presumptuous thing to say right now.
LiAngelo will be the real test. The 6’6 shooting guard will be at UCLA next season, but he’s only rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN.
Then again, LaVar never said all three of his kids will be drafted after going the one-and-done route. Being a one-and-done is up to the player even more than it’s up to the NBA.
“Someone has to be better than Michael Jordan. Why not you?”
"We've got a plan, and everything's going accordingly," he said. "They were born to go pro. I told them, 'Somebody has to be better than Michael Jordan. Why not you?'"
Why not LaVar Ball?
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,’’ Ball told USA TODAY Sports.“I would just back him in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left. He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.”
Saying Lonzo Ball is better than Stephen Curry
"I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing,” LaVar Ball said via TMZ. “He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens."
Doubling down on his son being better than Curry
"He’s going to be better than Steph Curry," Ball said, according to TMZ. "Steph Curry’s really good, but my son is young, he’s got time to go. And you only consider him good because he won a couple of championships. What if he didn’t win no championships? He made some shots at the right time. But he’s not as young as my boy."
He guaranteed UCLA wins an NCAA championship
"I’m going to tell you right now before you see it," LaVar said during an ESPN broadcast. "UCLA is going to win the NCAA championship. You think I’m playing? Right here and right now. Guaranteed. Come see me when they win it."
Saying his kids will sign a $1 billion shoe deal
"A billion dollars, it has to be there," Ball told USA Today in an article published Monday. "That's our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don't even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 million a year."
Saying LeBron’s kids would have trouble following in his footsteps
"You got LeBron — it's going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, 'You got to be just like your dad,'" Ball said on the In the Zone with Chris Broussard podcast. "And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, 'Why do I got to be just like him? What can't I just be me?' And then they are going to be like, 'Aw, you're soft. You're not that good.' Because the expectation is very, very high."
Doubling down on LeBron’s kids
"I've never seen one really live up to what their dad has done, so he could be the first," Ball said of James’ sons on Fox Sports Radio. "It's not about me having his kids name in my mouth, I'm not worried about his family. If somebody asks me a question I'll answer it the way I want to answer it. But I have nothing against LeBron or his kids."
No pressure, kids.