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LeBron James did not take kindly to some recent comments from LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball and his high school brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo.
On a podcast with Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard, LaVar had said that James’ kids aren’t as well set up for success in basketball because their father is so good.
“You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad,'” LaVar said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?'” He added the expectations are too high.
James did not appreciate the comments.
“Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth,” James told ESPN on Tuesday. “Keep my family out of your mouth.”
“This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.”
James did say, however, that he likes Lonzo Ball’s game.
As McMenamin notes, James’ kids, LeBron James Jr., in particular, have had great success at the AAU level, to the point where James Jr. reportedly had standing offers from Duke and Kentucky. LeBron recently admitted that James Jr. is already better at certain aspects of the game than he was at 12 years old.
Ball has been outspoken on several topics in recent weeks. He said he would have beaten Michael Jordan in one-on-one in his prime. He also said Lonzo would be better than Stephen Curry, to which Curry responded “I don’t want to talk about that” before wishing his kids well.
LaVar’s tendency to speak out on issues has already seeped into the discussion of Lonzo’s future NBA career. While some GMs told USA Today’s Sam Amick that LaVar’s comments won’t affect Lonzo’s draft status, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he doesn’t think it’s helping.
Now, angering the NBA’s best player might not help, either.