Should Parents of Athletes Stay in “Their Place”

by Jarcus Mohnson


Lonzo Ball’s prowess on the court is often outshined by his father’s antics. (Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

For over a year now LaVar Ball has taken the sports world by storm. He has become unequivocally the most popular non-athlete sports personality in the world. His loud mouth and rambunctious personality has made him a household name.

His antics have prompted him to steal the media spotlight from actual professional athletes, but no athlete has suffered from LaVar’s shenanigans more than his own son Lonzo ball.

Before becoming a pro basketball player, Lonzo was a quiet kid staring at UCLA. His talents landed him the honor of being the second overall pick in the NFL draft. Before the draft, Lavar first started to make his impression on the world by claiming his son was better than NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

This of course sired the ire of many sports fans and professional members of the sports realm. Due to his many proclamations, Lonzo Ball has become the most scrutinized

rookie in the history of the NBA.

LaVar’s other two sons Lamelo and Liangelo have also been victims of their fathers new found stardom. 19 year old Liangelo “Gelo” Ball and 16 year old Lamelo “Melo” Ball have been pulled out of their respective schools in order to play pro basketball in Lithuania.

The parenting of the Ball family patriarch has certainly been called to question. But one of the biggest questions that Lavar has raised is how much spotlight should be given to a parent.

LaVar Ball isn’t the first outspoken parent in sports. Venus and Serena Williams’s father Richard Williams was notorious for making sure he received some of the attention his children were given.

Williams coached both his daughters from Compton into two of the most legendary tennis players of all time. He had a habit of speaking his mind on racial topics both involving and not involving his children.

Earl Woods, father of Tiger Woods, put a golf club in his son’s hands before he was two years old. He went on to turn his parenting of a pro athlete into a business opportunity by writing books on how to do it.

The list continues of famous athletes and the parents sought to steal some of their children’s’ 15 minutes of fame. However, never has someone reveled and maximized their opportunity in that spotlight like Ball has.

This could create a potentially volatile environment for future athletes with fame seeking parents. LaVar started out as every loud mouthed father that believes in his kids.

The media’s incessant need to put a camera in Lavar’s face could prove detrimental to future athletes.  It is very possible more parents will attempt to garner some of the attention their children will receive in their pro careers.

This is not something new, but what could happen is parents trying to imitate LaVar’s lucratively profitable strategy. Ball has taken all the attention and turned it into publicity for his “Big Baller Brand.” He is not solely to blame.

The media has equipped Ball with the tools to etch out the road in his current path. Fans have also had a hand in the conglomerate monster that is Ball. His popularity on twitter in 2017 was rivaled by a small list of names including such as the president of the U.S.

The question remains on if sports media should be covering any member of an athletes family more than the athlete themselves, no matter the circumstances. The only thing certain is LaVar has made his impact and intends to stay, fans can only hope he is the only phenomenon of his kind.

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