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Kyrie Irving Sends Brutally Honest Message to LaVar Ball Regarding His Sons
- Updated: May 13, 2017
The string of controversies connected to the family of LaVar Ball have seemingly put a bullseye on the back of his son, Lonzo, who’s expected to be one of the first players selected in next month’s NBA draft. That’s led Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving to offer some advice to the elder Ball concerning his son.
Irving sees parallels between how his own father developed him into an All-Star guard and how Lavar is shaping the younger ball, who spent one season at UCLA. That led Irving to talk about the situation during Episode 27 of the “Road Trippin'” podcast which is hosted by his teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
“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.
“I don’t know what his future plans are for his sons. I don’t know the dynamic of their relationship. Me and my dad, I always wanted to be just an individual, and you guys always know that. And since I was a kid, my dad never fought that. He never fought that. And when it was time to let me go and be that individual after eighth grade, he stopped coaching me, and he was like, ‘OK, from high school on, you’re on your own. Like, I’m going to be here for advice, but from this point on, I’m just going to be a parent. I can’t be your coach for the rest of your life. I can’t be the Joe Jackson of just staying there on every step and just calculating every move.’ But, man, I just want to see what he has now. I mean, Lonzo, we’re just excited for him to get to the league now.”
Irving spoke about how he was forced in high school to tell his father that he needed to live his own life:
“I had to have a talk with my dad, and I was just like, ‘Man, Dad, I love you, but I’m going to make my own decisions,'” Irving said. “And he told me, when I turn 18, I’m responsible enough for myself to make my own decisions, and he’s going to be there to help along the way. But when I turned 18, like, I got my first tattoo. I got my ear pierced. I just started doing my own thing.”
Despite those changes, Irving’s marketing ability has been aided by the occasional advice he’s received from his father. He contrasted that with the approach taken by LaVar Ball:
“As I grew up, my dad’s primary goal was for me to be my own kind of CEO, make sure that I’m spearheading it, and I would go to him for advice and he would give it to me,” Irving said. “I respect their relationship, but the way that it’s being portrayed from the outside looking in … I mean, you see it and it may not be comfortable for everyone because, I mean, you see a father with three sons, and he has a brand that he’s trying to push into the whole entire world and basically push into everyone’s faces. Whether it be forcefully or whether it be the right thing, they’re your sons at the end of the day. And it’s not LaVar’s life.”
Irving respects the elder Ball’s efforts, yet indicates that past grandiose pronouncements aren’t helping his son:
“We all respect the foundation he’s laid. I’m going to speak from the parent perspective first and then as a player,” Irving said. “As a father, the foundation he’s laid for his children, I couldn’t be any [more] proud of him. I don’t listen to the comments. … Just as a parent, he’s opened up the door for his kids. He was the one that put the ball in their crib. As cliché as that sounds, he was the one that pushed them in that direction to play basketball. And now they’re talented and able to have their own AAU team and able to have their own brand and be able to travel on their own merits, not looking towards the big-time companies to sponsor their team. I mean, they’re controlling it within the family, and I respect that, from that aspect.
“Now, when he starts going off and saying, ‘I could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one’ and starts going off and he compared Lonzo to Uber and taxi, come on. Just relax a little bit. Take a step back and realize the impact that you can make, not for the moment now, but for the future. Lonzo is going to be in the NBA regardless. But at the end of the day, he still is going into another world that you can’t control.”
While supportive of what Ball can potentially bring to the league at point guard, the competitive instincts of Irving and other NBA stars at that position will kick in when they face each other:
“We’re going to go at him because he’s going to be a rookie,” Irving said. “He’s coming into the point guard position. That right there is … I mean, you think about it, you go through the top 10 point guards in the league, no matter what LaVar says or what he believes, we’re all going to come at him, and that’s just competition outright. Then you start adding, I mean, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen people be implemented into the spotlight, and it just draws an even bigger target on them. We’ve seen it.”
Lonzo Ball may not be the only Ball headed for the NBA, with two younger brothers also currently making their mark in high school basketball.