Full Court Review: LaVar Ball pulls son LaMelo from high school


LaVar Ball has been one of the most controversial figures in the basketball world, so much so that almost everyone has an opinion on him, from USA Today’s Nancy Armour calling him “the worst sports parent ever,” to Kobe Bryant saying he’s “all for [him].” LaVar is the father of three sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo, all of whom are exceptional basketball talents. As any loudmouth father, he’s had his fair share of borderline insane statements, such as claiming that he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one in his prime, but this is part of his marketing plans.

The attention he draws may at first seem like it’s just the ramblings of a father too proud of his kids, but if you look deeper there’s a reason for it. When he revealed that he was not only making his own brand, the Big Baller Brand, but also signing his own son to the company, suddenly everyone knew what his brand was. Someone who can manufacture popularity like this clearly knows what they’re doing.

The Ball family has been one of the most talked about sports families in history, with the oldest sibling, Lonzo, being the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers in his rookie season. The middle sibling, LiAngelo, is currently attending UCLA, but the most recent Ball family story consuming the media is about the youngest brother, LaMelo. He was pulled out of his high school by his father to be home-schooled instead. Some people might find this insane, but we should trust in LaVar’s decision.

Since he is no longer playing on a high school team, the question remains as to how he will continue to develop his talents for his college of choice, UCLA. LaVar has said that LaMelo will still play AAU basketball as well as pick up games in local parks to keep him in shape, but it’s still uncertain whether this strategy will pay off for the five-star recruit.

LaVar definitely has the resources to home school LaMelo, but it’s not the conventional way of getting to the NBA. Only one player currently in the NBA has been home-schooled in high school: Justin Jackson of the Sacramento Kings. Yet at the same time, home-schooling a five-star recruit doesn’t seem like a death sentence either, since he obviously has enough talent to make it to the NBA after one season.

Home-schooling itself isn’t that crazy of an idea, but for athletes it’s uncommon. The only difference for LaVar versus other parents is that LaMelo is a five-star recruit, forcing him to act as a coach as well. This won’t be too strenuous for LaVar, since he already does this for LaMelo’s AAU team. The key here is that he knows that he can’t baby his son, so he instead is loosening the reins on LaMelo by giving him more time to just play ball.

Overall, home-schooling isn’t the death of LaMelo’s future as a basketball player, and LaVar certainly isn’t “the worst parent in sports,” albeit a bit unconventional.

James Ghimire is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.