EL SEGUNDO – So, despite repeated claims to the contrary, LaVar Ball did have an impact on where his son was drafted.
He helped Lonzo go higher.
You know, maybe this one-man Mardi Gras parade, this boastful bag of gas, this big mouth everyone keeps telling to clam up, is more than just a burden on your mute button.
To be honest, I’m guessing the Lakers would have taken Lonzo at No. 2 Thursday regardless, the kid’s talent such that Magic Johnson suggested Ball’s jersey, even before Lonzo had a chance to wear it, could one day be retired.
But LaVar, as the Lakers now tell it, clinched the deal by exhibiting the exact sort of character so many people believe or simply assume must be absent given his status as an actual character.
It was during a pre-draft visit to the Ball home in quiet Chino Hills that Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka really discovered what Lonzo could bring to clamorous L.A.
They learned about the son’s foundation by witnessing the father’s brick laying.
They watched as LaVar – “Coach LaVar,” Pelinka called him – worked with his three boys and several other local kids, training them on fulfilling their potential by sprinting up hills and lifting weights.
They observed the family warmly interacting with Tina, the wife and mother who continues to recover from a stroke suffered in late February.
They gathered around the table to eat the breakfast LaVar prepared them, noting that, when everyone was finished, he was the one who did the dishes.
“It was just a feeling,” Pelinka said, “where you left the experience and you said, ‘This is a family that is centered around treating people the right way and hard work and a high level of character.’
“We see that in Lonzo, and we know that those leadership qualities are what’s going to take the Lakers to our ultimate destination, which is winning an NBA championship.”
Go ahead and read that quote again, if you like. It’s only the most significant thing anyone…