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LaVar Ball: Idiot, Great Dad, or Master Marketer?

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Lonzo Ball’s Dad LaVar knows how to generate attention

High School Basketball: Chino Hills at Rancho Cucamonga
LaVar is always marketing his sons. Notice the 3B hat for three Ball brothers.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Lonzo Ball’s dad, LaVar Ball, obviously things his son is the greatest basketball player in the history of mankind. He always popping off whether it is that the Warriors would be better off with Ball then reigning MVP Steph Curry or Lonzo does not need an agent but rather a “brand.” It is absurd but it is really bad?

Is LaVar an idiot, a supportive dad, or master marketer? Maybe all three.

However, this is a bit of a trend. Let me explain. Basketball Dads seem to be a different breed. Let’s take the last three players that were ranked number one or two in the nation coming to UCLA out of high school.

First, there was Kevin Love’s dad.

Said Kevin: "I had a sane mom, and an insane dad.

"That balanced things out. No. I'm kidding. My dad is the best dad in the world. But you know, my mom is always there to smooth things out. And there was never any jealousy for us kids."

One example of the insanity is Stan Love tried to get his son’s basketball coach fired after his first season. It was a season that had Kevin obtaining the notice of scouts who were already drooling. Here is one telling of that incident:

Among the parents was Stan Love, who also reportedly handed out “Fire Shoff” bumper stickers before a game over the winter. With rumors of a possible transfer to another Portland area school or to Mater Dei High School in California, Love stepped out of the shadows to announce he would return to Lake Oswego.

The move was followed by an official statement from Stan Love, saying that his son would remain at the school, but that Shoff should still be let go.

Sigh. According to Wikipedia, while a bodyguard to his cousin Brian Wilson (yes, the Beach Boy legend), Stan Love did this:

Love was fined $750 and placed on six months' probation for a home invasion and assault on Dennis Wilson with fellow bodyguard Rocky Pamplin.

Next, let’s turn to Shabazz Muhammad’s Dad. Shabazz Muhammad’s Dad is Ron Holmes and his mother is Faye Muhammad. Now, this time, Wikipedia does not have it right on Holmes. His name is different because, well:

Today, he goes by Ron Holmes because, he said, he never finished his formal religious conversion. Court records show that Holmes used numerous aliases over the years but agreed to stick to his birth name as part of a 2000 probation agreement. In that federal criminal case, he pleaded guilty to using phony bank statements and tax returns to secure mortgages. He served six months' house arrest.

And Holmes was a helicopter basketball parent to the extreme:

For the first 20 years of his life, almost every time Shabazz Muhammad turned around on a basketball court, his father was right there behind him.

Ron Holmes meticulously planned out and cultivated his son's playing career, from Muhammad's very first days in sneakers, through the construction of AAU teams that allowed his son to become one of the most heavily recruited prep stars in the nation and during his one and only season at UCLA.

"I talk to him now as a dad," Muhammad said on Friday after being introduced as one of the Minnesota Timberwolves' two first-round draft picks. "He's not really in my basketball (life) anymore.

"I still love the guy. I talk to him about basketball and life. But he doesn't really come around with basketball anymore. I think that's the appropriate thing to do. It's really helping me out a lot."

I have no idea how this ended up but, as of 2014:

Ronald Holmes, the father of NBA player Shabazz Muhammad, was sentenced in Las Vegas to 37 months in federal prison Thursday in a $2.5 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Holmes 51, who pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, apologized to Hicks for his conduct.

Schiess argued that Holmes also has exploited the good fortune of Shabazz Muhammad.

He said Holmes told the FBI in March 2013, that he had been living off a loan tied to his son’s projected earnings as a top NBA prospect. At the time, Muhammad was attending UCLA and later was drafted as a No. 1 pick by the Timberwolves.

Basketball Dads are crazy. The other night the announcers were comparing LaVar Ball to Earl Woods and Marv Marinovich. I think we can just focus on the crazy UCLA dads.

Of those three, maybe LaVar Ball isn’t that bad. Ron Holmes was a Southern Cal graduate and, anyway you look at it, a criminal. Stan Love always seemed pissed. LaVar is marketing his son and, in this day and age, over the top statements are the norm.

You will notice all three Dads were intensely involved in their son’s basketball lives. And, by intensely, involved I mean they more or less gave up their lives to ensure their son’s basketball careers. Is this healthy? Is this unique to basketball? On the last, I think more so.

On the other questions I don’t know. I do know that Lonzo Ball is a great and unselfish player.

Go Bruins!