The long-dormant narrative of LaVar Ball’s boast that he could beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1 found new life last week when Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets drafted LaMelo Ball third overall in the 2020 NBA draft.
Just like that, the snickers and eye-rolls returned, especially when Ball himself re-issued the challenge at his youngest son’s draft party. Even LaMelo didn’t seem to think his father would stand a chance against his new boss, but the obvious answer of who would win was never really the point of the story.
Ball’s challenge against Jordan was always more revelatory of the man himself and the kind of mind it takes to believe he could “kill” arguably the greatest player of all time or leverage the Los Angeles Lakers into building around his progeny.
With that background, it was surprising to see Ball acknowledge a small bit of reality on Tuesday.
LaVar Ball admits the obvious
In an interview with TMZ at a turkey giveaway in Los Angeles, Ball was asked about a potential game of 1-on-1 against Jordan, and proceeded to LaVar Ball it up:
“You’re going to see me and Mike play for the small price of $200 million on pay-per-view. If it’s a dollar short, we’re not playing.”
TMZ continued to push Ball for details, like possible venues (Ball naturally suggested the top of the Empire State Building) before reaching the most important question: Does he really think Jordan would ever agree to this?
The answer was simple:
"Realistically, neither one of us is gonna do this. We over 50!"
Even then, Ball gives himself a little too much credit, because age was never going to get in Jordan’s way. Jordan was apparently beating real, active NBA players in practice as recently as seven years ago, and being 57 years old now wouldn’t have stopped him from eviscerating a loud-mouthed stage dad that averaged 2.2 points per game at Washington State.
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