There had been speculation that Tina Ball, Lonzo’s mother and LaVar’s wife, was battling health challenges. Lonzo and LaVar Ball remained silent on the topic before opening up to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne in a new ESPN The Magazine feature.
The family confirmed Tina suffered a stroke in February. As a result, she has been left speechless as she recovers.
“Words really can’t describe how much she does for us,” Lonzo told ESPN. “She’s a lot like my dad: energetic … except she’s not crazy on the cameras. She can’t really talk right now, but she definitely knows what we’re saying, and she smiles all the time. So that’s a good thing.”
An anonymous Ball family member told Armchair All Americans in March that LaVar had banned his sons from visiting Tina. Here is what the source told Armchair:
Also, Tina Ball, his wife had a stroke on Feb 21. She had life threatening skull surgery to relieve brain pressure – guess where Lavar was during the operation that could have killed his wife? – at the CHHS vs. LB Poly game with his sons, including Lonzo. He still has not allowed his kids to see their sick mother due to the media attention it would bring to him, and cause BBB sales to diminish. [Name of hospital] in [City of hospital], CA – Tina is there now and he only visits for 1 hour a few days a week, while her Mother has yet to leave her side. Pathetic!!!
ESPN refuted the report noting the Ball brothers visited her at night after they had finished their training sessions. According to ESPN, Lonzo found out about his mother’s stroke in a text message he received from a relative during a UCLA practice. This angered LaVar who told ESPN he wanted to tell his son in person.
“Who are they to text my son that s—? I was going to tell him in person. Lonzo was coming to watch his brothers play and I was going to tell him, ‘Son, your mom is in a bad spot right now,'” LaVar told ESPN.
LaVar’s comments about women has drawn increased scrutiny after a heated exchange with Kristine Leahy on FS1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd. In the most contentious part of the exchange, Kristine noted “in order to have a successful company, I think you are going to have women that like your brand.”
“Uh, yeah, if you have a women’s company. But we talking about Big Baller Brand,” LaVar responded.
It is not the first time LaVar has said these sort of remarks. He continues to recount a story of telling his wife he only produced boys. Here is the most recent version he told ESPN.
“I knew I was gonna have more than one [son],” LaVar told ESPN. “I don’t put out no girls. … Me being alpha dog in our family, I’m gonna have boys. Gimme three boys.”
Tina is an athletic director at a local middle school. The couple met while they were playing college basketball.
From the few interviews she did before her stroke, she seems very much the opposite of LaVar’s large personality. Read more about Tina in Heavy’s in-depth profile of the mother of the Ball family.