LaVar Ball tries to explain why he thinks Kobe Bryant doesn't like Lonzo

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant chats with rookie Lonzo Ball during his jersey retirement night in December. (Getty Images)
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant chats with rookie Lonzo Ball during his jersey retirement night in December. (Getty Images)

After being drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers last year, L.A. native Lonzo Ball made headlines when he picked LeBron James over Kobe Bryant in a greatness debate that was fueled by Michael Jordan making the opposite pick. “I’ve been LeBron my whole life,” Ball said in August 2017.

A year later, Lonzo’s father, the notoriously boisterous LaVar Ball, is claiming that Bryant isn’t a fan of his son because his son’s favorite player growing up was LeBron instead of Kobe. This seems like quite a leap, considering Bryant even managed to squash his beef with Shaquille O’Neal, who once asked him in a rap battle how his backside tastes, but here we are: LaVar Ball is saying wild stuff again.

The comment came at the tail end of a 15-minute interview with Stadium’s “Sauce and Shram” show, via Lakers Nation, when one of the hosts asked LaVar about LeBron joining Lonzo’s team this summer.

“How many times does a player get to play with his favorite player,” said Ball, “probably never.”

“That was Lonzo’s favorite player growing up,” Sauce or Shram asked.

“Yes, that’s why Kobe don’t like him that much. He said, ‘I like LeBron.’ LeBron’s always been his guy.”

Kobe Bryant wondered why the Lakers didn’t draft Jayson Tatum over Lonzo Ball

This comes on the heels of Bryant asking Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum’s trainer, Drew Hanlen, why the Lakers didn’t draft Tatum over Lonzo. That was said after Hanlen showed Bryant a video of Tatum unleashing a series of patented Kobe Moves, inferring that the Lakers should have drafted the guy who reminds people of Kobe. That is basically the same thing as Lonzo saying he likes LeBron because they share a court vision that isn’t necessarily the same scoring approach that Kobe took.

As far as we can tell, nobody dislikes anybody else in these discussions about basketball preferences.

You’re not going to believe this, but the guy who considers everything a slight, even the suggestion that he couldn’t beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, may have interpreted Kobe’s praise of Tatum as a diss of Lonzo. If what LaVar Ball is trying to do is create a Kobe/Tatum vs. LeBron/Lonzo dynamic that doesn’t exist, he’s done well here. (I am all for this, by the way, because it would be great drama.)

It seems weird that, if Bryant didn’t like Lonzo, he would extend multiple invites to the young Lakers guard for training and advisory sessions, like the one he recently had to Tatum. And if Bryant doesn’t actually like Lonzo, which LaVar seems to believe, it would seem more likely that it was because Lonzo never took Bryant up on his offers and LaVar openly declared his son doesn’t need Kobe’s advice.

That seems like a far more likely scenario than Bryant not liking someone because they dared call anyone but him their favorite player, because if that were the case, he wouldn’t like a lot of people.

Come to think of it …

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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