LaVar Ball: Michael Jordan can't command $495 for shoes 'because he ain't Lonzo Ball'

Ball Don't Lie
One is the biggest blowhard in sports, and the other is LaVar Ball. (Periscope)
One is the biggest blowhard in sports, and the other is LaVar Ball. (Periscope)

LaVar Ball’s greatest achievement is somehow managing to overshadow his son Lonzo’s status as the potential No. 1 pick in this coming June’s NBA draft, which doesn’t seem like the best achievement.

Then again, he is a Big Baller, and he has supreme confidence in his son. His tie even says so.

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LaVar being LaVar, he went on television to spew some more nonsense about Lonzo and his ridiculous $495 shoes, joining fellow blowhards Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe on “Undisputed.” And LaVar being LaVar, he said MichaelJordan couldn’t command as much for his shoe, “because he ain’t Lonzo Ball, that’s why. Did he have his own brand coming in? It’s a new era called the Ball era.”

As if that weren’t enough, his reasoning was, “He don’t have to play a game. He did more than enough. Look at what he did at UCLA. He sold that place out, and it ain’t been sold out in 10 years.”

First of all, that’s not true. UCLA’s attendance was up, but the Bruins had sellouts the year before Lonzo arrived on campus. That’s neither here nor there. “Look at what he did at UCLA” has to be the single dumbest argument for why someone who lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament is better than a guy who made the game-winning shot in the national championship game as a freshman, before winning six NBA titles and establishing himself as the greatest basketball player ever.

Seriously, what did Lonzo Ball do at UCLA? He averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and six boards for a team that finished 31-5 and got worked by fellow future lottery pick De’Aaron Fox in the Sweet 16. Solid numbers, but somehow not as impressive as MJ putting up better ones in the NBA for 15 years.

We shouldn’t be surprised LaVar is spewing this garbage. Despite averaging two points in college, he claimed back in March he too could have beaten Jordan one-on-one “in my heyday,” which, again, was two points. A few days later, LaVar suggested Lonzo would win “more than six” NBA championships, another reference to his son’s superiority to a five-time Most Valuable Player and 14-time All-Star.

So, if Lonzo is better than Jordan, and LaVar is better than Jordan, then who would win between Lonzo and LaVar. Because we’ve been inundated with the Balls on talking-heads shows everywhere for the past couple months, we have the answer to that, too: LaVar would win, because “he be cheating.”

Just like he did against ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley, a football player:

This man who cheats to beat the son whose accomplishments he’s spent the last couple months trying to overshadow took another 40 minutes to talk to Bayless on Periscope. Don’t you worry, I wasted that time listening to those two windbags blow smoke up each other’s behinds so you don’t have to, and here’s what we learned: Nothing. But here are the 10 dumbest things LaVar Ball said:

• He spent several minutes making excuses for why he failed at the Division I college basketball level, and then failed to make it off the practice squad during a couple NFL training camp invites, maintaining that he was all-everything at both sports, even though we all know he is decidedly not.

• He said he was better at New York Jets training camp than Kyle Brady, who went on to play 13 NFL seasons, but the team was afraid to go with Ball because they’d drafted Brady in the first round.

• He made excuses for why Fox scored 39 points in Kentucky’s blowout tourney win over his son’s UCLA team, saying, “I bet he never had 39 points before in his life.” Lonzo’s season high for scoring was 24.

• LaVar wanted his son to be rejected by Nike, Under Armour and Adidas for endorsement deals. “I kind of wanted them to say no,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure they said no.” They did say no.

• He believes Lonzo’s signature shoe is worth $495, because he said so. “Everybody is stuck on a $100 shoe, a $200 shoe,” he said. “I feel the shoe is worth the $495, and the reason is it’s a heck of a shoe to me and my family. Now, we didn’t go bust your head and say we’re gonna be like the Louis Vuitton, Prada. We in a lane by ourself, which is we’re not competing with Nike and Adidas and Under Armour. Let them compete with the $100, $200s. We’re above them, so we’re right in our lane, but we’re not above Louis Vuitton and Gucci. We’re not trying to make that dress shoe. We’re making a shoe that’s right there in that $500 range. Nobody’s touching that area right there.” He is basically Michael Scott.

• He informed his youngest son he’d be 6-foot-8 when he graduates high school. He’s 6-foot-4 now. (LaVar says Lonzo will be 6-foot-7, 235 pounds at age 21. He is 6-foot-6, 190 pounds at 19 years old.)

• LaVar wants all three of his sons to play for the same NBA team. “We gonna try,” he said.

• LaVar credited LeBron James’ playoff 3-point percentage to the Cavaliers star imitating his son’s strange shooting stroke. “The only way you learn to get good like that is to learn the Big Baller shot.”

• As for Lonzo’s $995 autographed shoes, LaVar claimed “some people have signed for that shoe on the fact that they look it as an investment. Let’s say you buy the shoe for $1,000, and in the next couple years Lonzo’s really killing it. This summer, the shoe could go up to $25,000. We’re only making so many of those with the signature on it. So, if you don’t get, you’re going to be out of luck, and you’re going to look at yourself and say, ‘I should’ve got it,’ because Lonzo has always been at the top.”

• LaVar called the autographed shoes “memorabilia,” adding, “I’ve never seen memorabilia go down” in value. He’s right. No sports memorabilia has ever lost value. That’s impossible, right? RIGHT?!?!

Somehow, LaVar failed to mention Big Baller Brand sold fewer than 300 ZO2 shoes on their first day, clearing roughly $156,000 — well shy of the $1 billion asking price the Balls went to Nike & Co. with and nowhere near the pace of the $70 million in sales Jordan’s debut shoe saw in its first two months.

LaVar did, however, pretend not to care how many sold, even though we know he really, really cares.

“I really don’t know that aspect of it on the fact that I really don’t care,” he said. “All I care about is it’s a symbolic shoe. My son is coming in with his own brand before he’s even on the floor. And people say he hasn’t done enough in the NBA. Who cares? He’s done enough already for UCLA, just to sell it out.”

He added that the 11-time UCLA men’s basketball program was “irrelevant” before his son arrived.

In summation, LaVar is prioritizing “a symbolic shoe” over what, if he’d played his cards right, might have been a guaranteed shoe contract for his son worth tens of millions of dollars. That kind of money gives a family financial freedom for a long, long time, but that is not the Big Baller way. LaVar has supreme confidence in his son’s ability, and that’s an admirable quality — one of few we’ve seen.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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