Lavar Ball: Crazy or Genius?

Joe Kitz, Sports Section Editor

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It seems like the saga never ends when it comes to the Ball family. The main culprit, the loud and rambunctious Lavar Ball, presents himself as an over-the-top dad who people love to hate—but that is exactly what he wants. His most famous comments, both of which brought him to national stardom, included saying his then UCLA Men’s Basketball point guard son Lonzo Ball was better than Stephen Curry, and that Lavar himself could beat Michael Jordan in his prime in one-on-one basketball. While these comments were absurd, as Lonzo ball was merely a good college basketball player not even in the NBA, and Lavar himself barely averaged 2 points per game while playing college basketball, they nevertheless gained him national attention.

While many hosts brought him on their shows, they were quick to criticize that he was too outspoken and should just stay out his son’s way, the irony is that these hosts themselves were giving Lavar a chance to broadcast his views to the world. But how could these media outlets resist? Lavar is what every kid wants their dad to be like—telling their son’s they are the best and flaunting their ability to do so. Media outlets look for something that holds entertainment value, and Lavar Ball is so outrageous to the point that it is frankly funny to watch this reckless guy make completely outrageous claims, and thus these outlets make money from the increase in the price they charge their advertisers for air time.

In the midst of the constant appearances of Lavar Ball over social media and television, he is able to advertise his highly overpriced company, the Big Baller Brand. The release of the $495 ZO2’s, named after his eldest son Lonzo Ball, these shoes were unapologetically advertised by Lavar without concern of them being overpriced. Thus, the viewers garner a sense of belonging to an exclusive club of “Big Ballers,” which entails having the exclusive confidence and exuberance embodied by the exclusive shoe’s beholder, Lavar Ball.

Speaking from my own experience, fashion trends, especially as they relate to basketball, are recurrent especially in the preteen/early teen (middle school) years. During this stage of development, kids are trying to figure out who they are and what they want to become. However, during this change, it so difficult to find for money where they fit in, and so there are multiple measures kids take to try their best to fit in. As a direct result, kids often experiment with various styles of clothes that they think look good, and this is why fashion trends occur with such frequency during these changing years. A middle schooler’s desire to fit in despite this change means they often act unlike how they otherwise would in order to fit the ever-changing “norm,” and so their actions often involve daring and bold actions which will garner people’s attention. This combination of a middle schooler’s frequent adaption to “cool” clothing and acting in a way that garner’s people’s attention in order to feel a sense of belonging is exactly what Lavar Ball embodies, and thus why he is so popular among kids. Kids see someone who acts rambunctiously, and by the nature of being on national television, has garnered attention, and at the same time flaunts his clothes as part of his own identity, and thus they see themselves in Lavar. More and more kids then tune in to see this man who embodies what a preteen/young teen sees themselves as, as thus they tell their friends to gain attention and ask their parents to buy the clothes, and by nature of the other kid’s desire to fit in, these kids watch Lavar and tell their friends so that they will gain attention (while asking their parents for Big Baller Brand merchandise), and the cycle continues on and on, and thus the companies who put Lavar on the air are raking in the cash from ads because of the high viewership.

While Lavar’s often over-the-top and simply stupid antics are seen by many as despicable, he embodies the nature of these young kids, and thus they continuously provide Lavar a platform to share his brand with the world, thus putting himself and his company consistently on a national stage, and putting money consistently in his pockets.

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