The Los Angeles Lakers are giving us an early gift this holiday season: less media access to LaVar Ball.
In an attempt to curb Ball’s recent remarks criticizing Lakers coaches and players, the team has reinforced a policy many Staples Center employees are calling the “LaVar Ball rule,” according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes. The newly enforced guidelines bar reporters from conducting interviews in a section of the arena where family and friends of players congregate near the visitors’ locker room.
“It’s not a new policy; it’s an existing policy,” a team spokesperson told ESPN. “There has been more media presence in that area than before. That section is strictly for family and guests of players. It’s a privacy concern.”
Arena security and Lakers employees are now cracking down on a rule that was not previously enforced, asking media to leave the area, according to Haynes. The reason for that increased media presence in the section behind the basket between the visiting team’s bench and locker room is obvious, though: That’s where reporters hope to get LaVar’s immediate reaction following games.
Ball, the father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, has ripped the team for benching his son in fourth quarters, “babying” the 19-year-old’s development and failing to find his son at the end of regulation during their overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 29. In fact, this Lakers season began with ESPN interviewing LaVar on the court after their season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
That practice is now also forbidden, according to Haynes.
This comes after LaVar informed ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne in July that he told Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, “As far as training my boy, this is as far as I can take him. I’ll leave it up to you to take him further. You can get him better with the film time and the coaching. You can take him to another level.”
You will be shocked to learn Ball hasn’t adhered to his own advice.
The only surprise here is that it took a quarter of the season for the Lakers to enforce this rule. The policy, of course, will not restrict Ball from spewing his ridiculous hot takes in an attempt to drum up more publicity for himself, but the more roadblocks between him and an audience, the better.
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