For those who really want to see Steve Alford fired, LaVar Ball may be a blessing in disguise. Apparently, LaVar’s constant meddling led to the firing of Chino Hills Basketball Coach, where LiAngelo (incoming UCLA freshman for 2017-18) and Lemelo play.
The firing came after [Stephan] Gilling and Ball feuded for much of the season. Ball resorted to taking multiple public shots at Gilling when the Huskies’ season ended shy of a state championship. Their relationship soured after a disagreement in a Las Vegas tournament, escalating with Ball’s refusal to leave the team’s locker room.
“I’m just trying to be positive,” Gilling told For The Win in March. “I’m not all that worried about what he’s saying, but I want to let the people know that it was tough throughout the whole year, starting with that one game.
That “one game” came when LaVar was incensed by a strategy decision. Here is a detail of the aftermath in the locker room:
“He turns around and walks to our locker room,” Gilling said. “I said, ‘LaVar, don’t go into the locker room.’ He continues walking. I said, ‘LaVar, why are you trying to embarrass me?’ And he just kept walking and goes into the locker room. He’s in there sitting down with the team. And I’m like, ‘LaVar, get out!’”
Gilling says Ball refused to leave the locker room, so Gilling told his team to follow him back to the hotel while Ball’s sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, stayed behind.
When the Chino Hills team made it back to their hotel, Ball still hadn’t cooled down. In fact, he was just getting started.
“An assistant coach comes up to me and tells me that he sees LaVar rallying the team up,” Gilling said. “I guess he got them out of their rooms on the 18th floor and tells the team that it was his system that won. That we’re doing what he says. ‘I run Chino Hills! I run UCLA, about to run the NBA!’
Run UCLA? Hmm. LaVar’s antics have hurt Lonzo who despite being a lottery pick will not have an apparel deal.
Lonzo Ball, the most well-known prospect in the 2017 NBA Draft, is not considered an endorsement prospect by the only three shoe companies that matter in basketball: Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.
A report from ESPN.com says the three apparel companies will not do business with the Ball family. It appears LaVar Ball, Lonzo's father, is the reason. The most notorious quote in basketball for the past five months has stymied his son's short-term earning potential by turning his family name into its own corporation. LaVar Ball has been pushing his Big Baller Brand for months, hoping to create a billion-dollar enterprise .
LaVar is going to lose it if LiAngelo does not start or is not used “right” in his mind. To be clear LiAngelo is not Lonzo. While he is good, he does not seem to be an immediate impact type. Also, if UCLA struggles next season, expect LaVar to make some coaching suggestions or worse from the peanut gallery.
LaVar’s shtick is no longer funny. It is hurting his sons and their teams. It is going to be a worry next year if UCLA or LiAngelo struggles.