Read and React: Is LaVar Ball relevant with Lonzo in New Orleans?

Kevin Kaduk
Yahoo Sports

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Read and React: The Lead
Read and React: The Lead

Over the past few years, I've often wondered if LaVar Ball would have become a thing had he not lived in the nation's second biggest media market or sent his oldest son to play at UCLA.

Would the media have paid him the same amount of attention if he, say, were from suburban Kansas City and his son a Jayhawk?

I think we all know the answer, but we're about to find out for real with Lonzo headed east as part of the big Anthony Davis swap. If anything can wean the media from its cheap and easy LaVar takes (guilty!), it's sticking Lonzo in the relative backwater of New Orleans.

There are three reasons that Lonzo may not face the same out-of-sight, out-of-mind fate as Jeremy Lin once he leaves the bright lights of the big city.

1. As a Pelican, Lonzo is joining a team that is getting super young and super deep and will be adding Zion Williamson with the first pick in Thursday's draft. It won't reach Lakers or Warriors levels, but the team will be more newsworthy than most NBA squads.

2. The Pelicans are going to be on TV a lot and the NBA fanbase has repeatedly demonstrated over the past decade that star power will always win out over market size.

3. Maybe Lonzo — who was picked second just two short years ago — finally blossoms into the playmaker we thought he would be once he's out from under the shadows of both LaVar and LeBron. A bump in his stock will be a bump in LaVar's.

But again, New Orleans is not Los Angeles and there will be plenty of NBA stories in bigger markets that are more interesting without having to summon LaVar to say something brash and stupid.

As we saw on Monday, that type of request can backfire, as LaVar made an inappropriate comment to ESPN First Take host Molly Qerim. The network quickly condemned it, though it couldn't have been that serious as it didn't say anything about never having him back.

But with Lonzo headed to New Orleans (and LaMelo playing his pre-draft ball in Australia), LaVar no longer has a real role to play in the soap opera that is Los Angeles hoops. Time will tell if the media and public still want to see him when he's creating his drama somewhere else.

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