Yes, Daddy Dearest.
There’s no getting away from LaVar Ball even when he’s half a world away, continuing his outrages from Lakerdom to Lithuania.
The Lakers live for the day they no longer hear his name, but there’s no pretending he doesn’t exist – as they’re trying to do – or that his latest rip of Luke Walton wasn’t a distraction, or that it’s not damaging their brand as they prepare to pursue elite free agents.
In the annals of problem parents, this is beyond the Marv Marinoviches. LaVar is more like Faye Dunaway playing Joan Crawford in the 1981 film, using her children as extras, ordering them to call her “Mommy Dearest” and visiting her hysteria on them as her movie queen status fades.
Ironically, and dismayingly for the Lakers, they’re committed to Walton with Jeanie Buss tweeting #InLukeWeTrust in her New Year’s greeting … but with the heat on, no one had his back.
Furious though the Lakers were, they were afraid to reply and make the story even bigger. Luke was left to fend for himself at a tender moment with a nine-game losing streak, including the 37-point home loss to OKC that followed LaVar’s rip, in which Kyle Kuzma said, “We gave up.”
Worse was Lonzo’s response – “I can play for anyone” – or was it just low-key Lonzo being Lonzo?
Wait a year or two to see if Luke’s still here.
In the nick of time, the Lakers won three in a row … whether or not the credit goes to the Luke and the players.
Actually, it was Lonzo’s play and LaVar’s inspiration. Or LaVar’s inspiration and Lonzo’s play. Just ask LaVar.
Not that it’s easy … or possible … to deal with someone not even Magic Johnson can charm or persuade. The Lakers had him in on Nov. 29, at which time LaVar said he’d come to them with any complaints.
Or that’s what the Lakers thought he said. LaVar’s version, to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne was, “I am going to say, to plant a seed, ‘Let’s look for this now.’ They might not want to hear that, but it’s going to be successful if you listen to what I’m saying on the fact that I know what it takes for my son to run like this.”
If LaVar doesn’t deserve the respect they have shown him, there’s no embarrassing or intimidating him, either, when all he has to do in reply is talk into a live microphone.
The Lakers, who know something about stars, had Kobe Bryant, the brashest of the brash, who asked Coach Del Harris as an 18-year-old rookie why they couldn’t run post-ups…