Even when he’s an ocean away, LaVar Ball can’t stop making headlines.
After a report from ESPN’s Jeff Goodman quoted the eldest Ball in Lithuania as saying the Los Angeles Lakers don’t want to play for head coach Luke Walton, NBA figures are firing back.
They’re just not coming after Ball for the comments. Rather, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle chastised ESPN for running the piece in the first place.
“As president of the coaches association, I view the ESPN article as a disgrace, quite honestly,” Carlisle told reporters. “[ESPN] should back up the coaches. Printing an article where the father of an NBA player has an opinion that is printed as anything like legitimate erodes trust that we’ve built with ESPN and our coaches are upset.”
There is nothing wrong with Carlisle backing up another coach — especially in his capacity as president of the NBA Coaches Association. The way he went about it, however, is totally without merit.
Strip away all the personalities involved here and you’re left with a simple story: the father of an NBA player on one of the most well-known teams in the league says the Lakers have quit on their coach.
Whatever your feelings on LaVar Ball are, that alone is newsworthy. That alone deserves a headline.
But the quote isn’t what Carlisle finds fault with. It’s that ESPN reported it. And while Carlisle may view the network as a “partner” with the NBA, the fact of the matter is ESPN pays billions per year to broadcast the league.
ESPN has no obligation to protect coaches and Carlisle seems to be confused as to the different divisions inside the company itself. Goodman’s reporting and the NBA’s broadcasting rights with ESPN are, for all intents and purposes, mutually exclusive.
Several NBA coaches plan to ask media relations staffs to revoke credentials of basketball writers who interview LaVar Ball, league sources tell AmicoHoops. Ball was critical of Lakers coach Luke Walton in comments made to ESPN.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 8, 2018
The NBA doesn’t get to decide what ESPN reports any more than the network gets to decide playoff matchups.
Carlisle’s problem here is with Ball’s quotes, and since he can’t control those, he’s lashing out at the network that published them. Never mind that Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and Walton have both brushed this off.
Luke Walton on why he subbed out Lonzo early, "His dad was talking sh–t so I took him out early." He waited a good two seconds before he smiled and made sure everyone knew he was kidding. https://t.co/rMHDMIyhJq
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 8, 2018
The Dallas coach had his heart in the right place and was trying to aid a colleague. You certainly can’t blame him for doing so.
But that is his job. It’s not ESPN’s.
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