After watching the Los Angeles Lakers land the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft during Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery, LaVar Ball — father of top point-guard prospect Lonzo Ball and patriarch of Big Baller Brand — made a celebratory appearance on FS1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Wednesday. During his visit, he got into a testy exchange with co-host Kristine Leahy that saw Ball refuse to look Leahy in the eye, say she scared him to death, and tell her to “stay in [her] lane” when discussing Ball and Big Baller Brand.
“I’ve sold a good amount, to me,” Ball said. “Like I’ve said, there’s different amounts.”
“How many?” asked Leahy, who has previously questioned Big Baller Brand’s branding and the price point of the ZO2, and who has said that Lonzo looks in interviews like he’s terrified to offer anything that might run contrary to what his father says.
“Stay in your lane,” Ball quickly replied, without looking behind him to where Leahy sat at her desk. Cowherd laughed.
“I’m just curious,” Leahy said.
“I don’t even worry about her over there,” Ball said.
“Why not?” Leahy asked. “That’s kind of disrespectful.”
“Every time — she scares me to death,” Ball said. “She said she scares Lonzo, Lonzo’s scared of me, I’m scared of her. That’s why I don’t even look that way. I don’t look over there because she scares me. I’m thinking of ‘Saw’ right now. Leave me alone. I’ll tell you: four or five hundred pair.”
“She’s a reporter,” Cowherd said. “Her job is to probe.”
“She can report to whoever she want behind her,” Ball said. “I’m talking to you, Colin.”
“What is your problem with me?” Leahy asked.
“My problem is, you are a hater,” Ball said, before launching into a falsetto impersonation. “‘I would never wear a Big Baller shirt.’ Well, good. Don’t even talk to Big Baller.”
“I didn’t say that,” Leahy said. “I said that I wouldn’t wear something, as a woman —”
“… that’s Big Baller,” Ball interjected. “It’s the same thing. With all due respect, you’re a great reporter. Just not reporting on me.”
“I have a right to say what shirt I would and wouldn’t wear,” Leahy said.
“Uh-oh, welcome to Big Baller Zone,” Ball replied.
“I just said that if you wanted to work with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, to maybe have something that appeals to women,” Leahy said.
“I thought that was a legitimate — I mean, I don’t have to agree, but I thought that was a pretty good point,” Cowherd said.
“I don’t agree with her,” Ball said, as Leahy added that she was framing her point as advice. “It’s a good point because y’all friends. I’m not friends with her. I don’t even see her. What’s this show about again? Ain’t we talking about shoes? I don’t want to talk about that. Next.”
“Well, I think that in order to have a successful company, you’re going to have to have women who like your brand,” Leahy said.
“Uh, yeah, if you have a women’s company,” Ball replied. “But anyways.”
“Oh, so you’re not marketing to women?” Leahy asked.
“We’re talking about Big Baller Brand,” Ball said.
Here’s where we note that there is a section on the Big Baller Brand website specifically labeled “WOMEN,” where Ball sells nine shirts for female consumers.
Cowherd took the reins back at that point, steering the conversation into the pressure that LaVar Ball’s public comments and persona have put on his sons and comparing it to the upbringings and professional development of athletes like the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods and Oscar De La Hoya. Shortly thereafter, though, the discussion turned to comments that Cowherd’s Fox Sports colleague Jason Whitlock made about Lonzo rapping as a way to gain “street appeal,” which Ball denied before firing back.
“And going back to Whitlock: I don’t think he can comment on anything but snacks,” Ball said.
“Now, that’s a little harsh,” Cowherd said.
“I’m gonna be harsh, because he harsh on me,” Ball said.
“So you’re going to disrespect women and people for their weight?” Leahy asked.
“That’s what you say,” Ball said. “I didn’t say nothing about no weight. Like I told you, I ain’t even worried about you right now. Keep to your lane.”
“Can you look me in the eye?” Leahy asked.
“I don’t want to look you in the eye,” Ball said. “You scare me to death. You scaring me. Right now. I don’t want to look that way.”
After moving the chat to what LaVar expects Lonzo to do as a rookie in the NBA, Cowherd asked Ball if he’d consider trying to reopen negotiations with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour — the three top apparel companies who reportedly decided against doing business with Lonzo after LaVar sought not an endorsement deal, but rather a full-fledged partnership between those companies and Big Baller Brand worth $1 billion — now that Lonzo appears to be headed to the Lakers. LaVar Ball dismissed the idea out of hand, saying that if one of those big three companies wanted to talk deal, the price had tripled to $3 billion.
“They wouldn’t want to work with you anyway, because you don’t respect women,” Leahy said.
“She’s after you today,” Cowherd said.
“Oh, I don’t respect women? But I’m the one who’s married. I’m good,” Ball said. “She can say what she want. She’s trying to — I never disrespect women. But I tell you what: if you act like that, guess what? Something’s coming to you. And it’s OK.”
“Wait, are you threatening me?” Leahy asked.
“See how she’s trying to turn the words?” Ball said. “I never threatened you.”
“You said something’s coming to me,” Leahy responded.
“I don’t know what it is,” Ball said. “I’m not a psychic.”
Maybe you think this is much ado about nothing, merely Ball turning a cold shoulder on a commentator who’d offered less-than-glowing comments about his business efforts and some side-eye at his parenting. Even so, it seems fair to say that the way he went about it — refusing to look at Leahy the entire time, dismissively telling her to stay in her lane, veering into that weird nod toward “something coming to you” for disrespecting him — left an awful lot to be desired.
This just plain looked and sounded bad, and is the kind of thing that you might expect to end in an apology. We probably shouldn’t hold our breath for that, though.
“I’m a genius,” Ball said earlier in the segment after Cowherd asked if there’s anything he’s regretted about his words and deeds to this point in Lonzo’s run from preps to pros. “That’s why I don’t admit mistakes.”
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