Lavar Effect: Fatherless Players Plan to BBB (Badly Brutalize Ball)
By Jeremiah the Prophet
On the opening night for the Los Angeles Lakers, Lonzo fell victim to the first of a long line of players that have set out to destroy him. Patrick Beverly, the Clippers fiery defensive savant, came to work with one mission in mind; Show Lavar Ball that his son is not the prodigy that the father claims. He took serious exception to the fact that the senior Ball dared to have extreme confidence in his oldest child and the audacity to vocalize it.
The boisterous patriarch of the Ball family has spent the last year appearing on various media outlets proclaiming the future dominance of his son. His wild claims include the declaration that his son, Lonzo, was currently better than 2-time MVP Steph Curry. He also boldly predicted that Lonzo would be drafted by the Lakers and lead them to the playoffs in his first year. While obviously ambitious, these statements weren’t particularly harmful nor were they directed at Beverly. Patrick, nevertheless, took the Lavar’s words as an insult to all of the NBA point guards. Although many players have been irked by all the Lonzo hype, I have a few ideas as to why the Clippers new guard would be particularly sensitive about it.
Patrick Beverly is somewhat of the “Anti-Lonzo.” While Lonzo was raised in the suburbs of Chino Hills, California; Beverly was raised in the notoriously dangerous Chicago, Illinois. Rather than have the extreme fatherly support like Lonzo, Pat was raised by a single mother. Instead of being a famous one-and-done prospect at UCLA, Patrick was forced to attend Arkansas for 3 years where he was academically ineligible for his junior year. ZO2 was a world famous number 2 pick for the Los Angeles Lakers at 19 years old while Beverly was drafted 42nd and had to spend a few years in Europe before finding a home in the NBA. In other words, Patrick Beverly is JEALOUS OF LONZO BALL. Beverly is insulted by the idea that Ball has the support, recognition, and success that he has never had.
On opening day, Pat took his frustrations out on Zo. He had already told Stephen A Smith of ESPN before the game that he planned to “get in his ass.” In addition to the tough defense he plays on every point guard he faces, Beverly took the opportunity to physically and mentally bully the rookie. He pushed, shoved, pulled jerseys, and smack-talked all game long. After the game he yelled expletives about the kid calling him “weak,” “motherfucker,” and other insults. Let’s not forget… Lonzo (or his father) at this point hadn’t ever been quoted even mentioning Beverly’s name. No one ever does. That was the problem. Shutting down a 19 year old unproven rookie in a near meaningless game instantly became the most talked about moment of Beverly’s career. For the first time, Patrick Beverly was actually trending on Twitter
While unheralded players like Beverly will certainly look to make a name against Lonzo, superstars plan to embarrass him too. Before Zo was even drafted, John Wall told TMZ that NBA point guards were “coming for him,” due to the outspokenness of his dad. Interestingly enough, Wall also grew up with much tougher circumstances than Ball. His father, John Wall Sr, died while he was 8 after spending the majority of the younger Wall’s life in prison. Once again, a player without the same support system as ZO2 takes exception to a father speaking so highly of his son. To make things worse for Lonzo, Lavar predicted a win against Wall’s Washington Wizards after a loss to the Pelicans. Marcin Gortat (a teammate of John Wall) immediately took to Twitter and said, “John Wall will torture him for 48 minutes.” Laker players responded to Gortat’s tweet and rumors of Wall’s plan to embarrass Zo by backing Ball and preparing to work as a team to collectively defend. Wall told ESPN he would have, “…no mercy,” in regards to Lonzo.
While all NBA players are competitive and want to win every night, things like daddy issues, jealousy of privilege, and honestly a little of the “light-skinned/dark-skinned” thing go a long way towards extra motivation. As a fatherless child myself, I understand the idea of feeling like you would’ve been more and done more with more support. Instead of hating on those that have that, however, I enjoy seeing it. It warms my heart to see a father enthusiastically supporting his son (even if some feel its excessive). Scott Brooks (John Wall’s coach) agrees as he told the Washington Post, “…my father left me at 2. I would love to have my father around like [LaVar] is around and talk to him and pump me up with confidence. …To me, that’s every son’s dream.”
The NBA season is already long and grueling enough without added stress and hyper-motivated competition. Unfortunately for Lonzo, he can expect this first season to be filled with players that are salty about his Dad’s hyperbolic descriptions of his game and ambitious predictions. While some players will respect the Ball family’s hustle, there will always be some who simply cannot stand that Lonzo Ball is living the “good life” in L.A. with a dad that has made him more famous than all star veterans. Well, this dark-skinned bastard from the less glamorous side of San Bernardino County, California would like to wish you good luck Lonzo.
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-Jeremiah Da Prophet