There is a pretty good article in the LA Times today on the heart and soul of Ben Ball warriors. AA is not only the leader of his basketball team, it turns out he is also the cornerstone of his own family. Yet despite all that he is comes across as nothing short of a modest and humble kid maintaining perspective and realizing what are the most important things life:
"We basically make eye contact," said Benjamin "Danny" Afflalo. "Sometimes he may have questions in his eyes. Sometimes I may do a little signal."
They are about as close as a father and son can get, after living together from the time Arron was 13 until he went to UCLA, just the two of them, in one of the four houses Danny Afflalo owns on a parcel in a little-known part of Compton where the lots are large and the neighborhood is still zoned for horses.
"They have a real connection, a special bond," said Coach Ben Howland, who remembers walking into the UCLA locker room during warm-ups before the Michigan game in December and finding Arron inside.
"He's on the phone, and I'm, 'What are you doing in here? We're in warm-ups,' " Howland said. "He said, 'My dad, he's sick, he's not here.' I said, 'Don't worry, he's fine, we'll call him. You go back out there and warm up.' "
Danny Afflalo had only a stomach virus. But that's Arron, the responsible one, whether it's checking on his father, expecting to take the last shot for the Bruins, or going to a school function this week for his 8 1/2 -year-old step-sister, Paris, after she won awards in math and reading at Purche Avenue Elementary in Gardena.
We are lucky to have AA. I think someone wrote here before there is one guy No. 4 reminds us of. He wore number 31. Let's hope No. 4 leaves Westwood on the same note as number 31.