How the LaVar Ball family went from backyard training to potentially the next basketball family dynasty

While the 2017 NBA Draft is loaded with more talent than has been seen in years, one player has gotten the lion’s share of the attention – Lonzo Ball.

Lonzo is a great player and has some of the best court-vision you could hope to find in a rookie out of college, but his play and his passing aren’t the only reasons his name has been grabbing headlines. Much of that attention can be credited to his father, LaVar Ball.

With Lonzo entering the NBA this season, his younger brother LiAngelo heading to play at UCLA, and his youngest brother LaMelo one of the most-watched high school players in the country, it’s safe to say that the Balls, and their father LaVar, will be apart of the lives of basketball fans for some time to come.

You can learn more about Lonzo Ball’s rise to being a lottery pick, and the Ball family as a whole, below.


Lonzo Ball was born on October 27th, 1997, and is the oldest of the three Ball brothers. His father claims he was immediately confident in his son’s ability to ball.

#TBT????????

A post shared by Lonzo Ball (@zo) on


“When I realized he would be good at basketball?” LaVar Ball asked. “You probably don’t want to hear this – as soon as he came out the womb. I told him he was born to go pro.”

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CBS News

Source: Daily Bruin


It could be said that basketball is in Lonzo’s blood. His parents, Tina and the now infamous LaVar Ball, both played basketball while attending college at California State Los Angeles.

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CBS News/Cal State LA

LaVar was a practice squad member for the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets, and played briefly for the London Monarchs in the World League of American Football (later known as NFL Europe) before eventually focusing on working as a personal trainer and coaching his sons. Tina worked as an athletic director at a middle school in Montclair, California.

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CBS News

LaVar starting training his kids at a very young age with the goal of helping them become the best of the best. Ball says he would tell his kids, “Your mom’s a PE teacher. I’m a trainer. She’s big. I’m big. You guys are big. Your last name is Ball. What else you gonna do?”

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CBS News

Source: GQ


Lonzo and his two younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo would play together on a team coached by their father — the Big Ballers. The team would often play against older competition. As LaVar says, “When the boys were seven, nine, and ten, they’d play against the eighth graders and they’d run ’em into the ground.”

#tbt

A post shared by Lonzo Ball (@zo) on

Source: LA Mag


The team name would develop into LaVar’s entrepreneurial business, the Big Baller Brand, a lifestyle company selling shirts and apparel inspired by his sons. The name has one “B” for each boy, and chances are if your are out in public with LaVar, he’ll (kindly) demand you wear a shirt, as happened to one GQ reporter.

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Facebook/Big Baller Brand

Source: GQ


After his was done playing youth ball, Lonzo went on to play for Chino Hills High School, a school that had not been known for it’s basketball program and gone just 17-11 the previous season. Lonzo was an immediate sensation.

Just a young gun from ChinoHills @ZO2_ ðx}¥: @BallerVisions pic.twitter.com/Gd8efEuJtC

@ZO2_@BallerVisionspic.twitter.com/Gd8efEuJtCApril4, 2017


In Lonzo’s freshman season, Chino Hills jumped to a 24-5 record and went undefeated in league play. Ball averaged just under 14 points per game while shooting 69% from the floor.

Source: MaxPreps


When his brothers joined him in high school for his senior year in 2016, Lonzo led Chino Hills to a 35-0 record while averaging a triple-double and capped the season off with a state championship. Lonzo Ball was honored with the Naismith High School Player of the Year award.

#nationalsiblingday ????????????❤️

A post shared by LaMelo Ball (@melo) on


After high school Lonzo stayed close to home, choosing to play at UCLA for what everyone correctly assumed would be his only season of college ball. All three Ball brothers plan to be Bruins, with LiAngelo heading there this year and LaMelo verbally committed despite being just a sophomore in high school.


Lonzo proved to be a versatile guard for the Bruins, averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists per game.

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Harry How/Getty Images

His play helped to lead UCLA to a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament. In November of the previous year, LaVar had said, “UCLA gonna win the NCAA Championship and you think I’m playin’…Right here and right now…Guaranteed! Come see me when they win it!”

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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Source: Bruins Nation


But this time, LaVar’s prediction would fall short, with UCLA being eliminated by Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. Notably, Lonzo was outplayed in the game by fellow lottery pick, Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox. Lonzo would declare for the draft immediately after the game.


While Lonzo was busy making a name for himself on the court with UCLA, LaVar was causing quite a scene from the sidelines.

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Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

After the Bruins’ loss to the Wildcats, LaVar seemed to backtrack on his championship guarantee with an eyebrow-raising comment, saying “Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow.”

Caption This ???? . . . ????: @visionentgroup @ballerzworld @rodwatson23

A post shared by Big Baller Brand (@bigballerbrand) on

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LaVar’s most viral moment in the limelight came in an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take,” where LaVar went toe-to-toe with Stephen A. Smith, arguing that he could have beaten Michael Jordan at one-on-one in his prime.


LaVar also made waves with his unique demands for his sons’ eventual shoe deal. He asked for a $1 billion deal that would cover all three of his sons for the entirety of their careers. Nike, and other companies that might’ve considered signing Lonzo, did not bite.

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Facebook/Big Baller Brand

Source: USA Today


With no takers on his billion dollar offer, LaVar took initiative on his own, designing and promoting Lonzo’s first signature shoe through his already established Big Baller Brand.

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Facebook/Big Baller Brand

While some believe LaVar to be too loud, pushy, or demanding of his sons, those closest to him say it’s just LaVar being LaVar. Said Lonzo, “When you in elementary school, and all the parents dropping off they kids and stuff, and you see my dad come in an Escalade, 24-inch rims on it, usually just bumping! He don’t care about nothing. He’s a little different. But I love him.”

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CBS News

Source: GQ


LaVar wants to take care of his kids. Earlier this year, when his wife was absent from courtside for a few games, rumors began to swirl that he and Tina were separating. In reality, Tina had had a stroke, and LaVar was holding down the Ball household on his own, all while his sons were going through some of the most important games of their young careers. “They know that I’m going to take care of her and she’s going to be all right. And when you have that coming from your dad, you can play.”

Family Comes First. #MamaBall

A post shared by Big Baller Brand (@bigballerbrand) on

Source: GQ


But LaVar doesn’t just want to take care of his sons, he believes in them. As his proposed shoe deal indicates, LaVar Ball thinks all three of his sons will play in the NBA, spending one year each with UCLA before joining the Lakers. As he told ESPN, “All my boys are gonna be one-and-done.”

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Facebook/Big Baller Brand

Source: ESPN


While prospects are high for his youngest son LaMelo, scouts are less high on his middle son LiAngelo. But LaVar Ball is unfazed. “Gelo [LiAngelo] is going [to] be one-and-done whether he’s good or bad,” LaVar said. “I’m going to put him in the draft, hope they don’t take him. Bring him into the Lakers as a free agent, let him wind up with his brother and watch how good they play together.”

????????????ride or die #familyovereverything

A post shared by LiAngelo Ball (@gelo) on

Source: ESPN


While we’ll see what LiAngelo is capable of at UCLA this season, the buzz around LaMelo is already staggering. The high school sophomore scored 92 points in a single game last season, including this impressive escape from being triple teamed.

Melo’s 92nd point , One ofthe Best Buckets of His Career @MELOD1P âS`ðx½ #cantguardhimpic.twitter.com/QypAC5yWhr

@MELOD1P#cantguardhimpic.twitter.com/QypAC5yWhrFebruary8, 2017


2017 will be LaMelo’s first year at Chino Hills without his brothers. It will be interesting to see how he grows into the role. In two years time, he plans on heading to UCLA as well.

The future is bright. ???? #uclaathletics #gobruins

A post shared by Big Baller Brand (@bigballerbrand) on


But for right now, the focus of the Ball family is on the NBA Draft. Lonzo is expected to be drafted with the second overall pick in the draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, keeping him close to home once again.


There’s still much of the story to be written, but for now, both Lonzo and the Big Baller Brand as a whole look like they could be poised for big things at the NBA level.

Happy BDay bro bro you already know I'm thankful for you ???????? #18

A post shared by Lonzo Ball (@zo) on


Now check out draft projections for every team in tonight’s draft.

NBA MOCK DRAFT: Here’s what the experts are predicting for all 30 first-round picks