Meet what LaVar Ball calls the country’s “first basketball family”. LaVar is the outspoken ringleader, and father of three sons who have impressive basketball talents.
At 19, Lonzo is the oldest of three brothers, and will be one of the most anticipated NBA rookies next season. LiAngelo is 18, and headed to UCLA in the fall. LiMelo is 15 years old, and plays high school basketball at Chino Hills. He completes the trifecta of UCLA commits from the family.
In addition to training his sons to be great basketball players, LaVar also plays CEO for the family business, Big Baller Brand. LaVar spoke to CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish on how he helped develop the players we see today.
“That’s why I married my wife. Before they even came out the womb, I said, ‘I’m having three.’ And with the way I’m built, and the way she’s built, I knew I was going to have three killers,” LaVar told CBS Sports. “So this thing was planned long ago. Because I knew if you put two basketball players together, this is what you’re going to get. I knew this is what we were going to get.”
The woman LaVar is referring to is his wife, Tina Ball, who is the First Lady of the family. Tina is recovering from a stroke she suffered in February 2017, but also shares a love for athletics like the rest of the family.
Learn more about the Ball family who is taking over the game of basketball.
1. Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Either Attended or Will Attend UCLA
All three Ball brothers committed to UCLA. LaMelo, the youngest Ball, committed to UCLA at 13 years old. Lonzo spent one season at UCLA before heading to the NBA. LiAngelo will pick up where his older brother left off, and play for the Bruins starting in the fall of 2017.
All three committed to UCLA because they wanted to stay together, and be close to family. “Our family is very close. It’s a good thing we have over here, so we all made the same decision,” Lonzo told ESPN.
While they played together in high school, they will not be teammates in college. LaVar has already said his boys will all play just one year at UCLA before turning pro. Lonzo is the first of the three to do just that. Why did the Ball family choose UCLA over other schools? LaVar explained the decision to CBS Sports.
“I’m from California,” LaVar told CBS Sports. “My wife is from California. My boys are from California and don’t like the cold. So we eliminated all East Coast schools and then just asked, ‘OK, who’s the best team on the West Coast?’ It’s UCLA.”
2. The Ball Family Started Big Baller Brand in 2016
The Big Baller Brand is not simply about Lonzo. He just happens to be the oldest brother, but the apparel company emphasizes the role all three brothers play in the company. Here’s how the family describes Big Baller Brand on the company website.
BIG BALLER BRAND is a Lifestyle Apparel company founded on core family values, and inspired by the 3 Ball brothers from Chino Hills, California. Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball are basketball players with championship pedigree.
We are always striving for excellence through strong work ethic, passion, and commitment to win as a team.
Our company goal and purpose is to deliver the same qualities into the brand. We are dedicated to produce the highest quality products to build brand loyalty. Our mission is to provide a clothing line that is a reflection of what every Big Baller in the world expresses through what they wear. Trust Big Baller Brand as a Lifestyle for the latest in apparel fashion and design for any occasion.
3. Lonzo Was Able to Have Fun at His Dad’s Expense During a Foot Locker Commercial
The Ball family may be polarizing, but it does not mean they are not able to have some fun at their own expense. Lonzo was part of a comical Foot Locker Father’s Day ad where he poked fun at LaVar. Jonathan Isaac, Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox relay warm memories of their father spending time with them over instrumental music. Lonzo says the following in the most serious tone possible.
Of course, there’s that big day when your dad berates your high school coach in front of an entire crowd for not getting you enough touches…Or that special moment when your dad sits you down and tells you where you’re going to college…copyrights your name to make it part of a family lifestyle brand…went on First Take and shouted back and forth with Stephen A. Smith about how you’re already better than the reigning league MVP [Steph Curry]…All those interviews from the stands during college games. All those spats with the all-time greats. Sound bite after sound bite to the national media…then tells 29 out of 30 teams to not bother drafting you.
4. LaVar Has Said His Three Sons Will All be One-and-Done Players & Play for the Lakers
LaVar has a plan for his sons, and it involves all three of them wearing purple and gold. He explained to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that all of his sons will only spend one season at UCLA then turn pro.
“All my boys are gonna be one-and-done. Gelo [LiAngelo] is going [to] be one-and-done whether he’s good or bad,” LaVar told ESPN. “I’m going to put him in the draft, hope they don’t take him. Bring him into the Lakers as a free agent, let him wind up with his brother and watch how good they play together.”
LiAngelo is a three-star recruit heading to UCLA. Goodman noted several NBA executives do not even have LiAngelo on their 2018 draft boards. He will need to prove himself during his freshman season at UCLA to have a chance at jumping to the NBA.
5. The 3 Brothers Teamed Up at Chino Hills to Win the 2015-16 State Title
While the Ball brothers played on the same AAU team, they only played together for one year in high school given the age difference. That one year led to an undefeated season and state championship. Chino Hills went 35-0, and defeated De La Salle by 20 points in the state title game.
Lonzo averaged 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 11.5 assists and five steals during Chino Hills’ championship season. Rivals.com had Lonzo as a five-star recruit, and ranked as the fourth best player in the country.
While LaVar is proud of their accomplishments, he has not exactly been a big proponent of Chino Hills.
“Might as well call Chino Hills, Chino Ball,” LaVar told The Mercury News. “That’s the reality. As soon as my last son graduates, Chino Hills will go from sugar to [expletive]. When I’m done, they can have it back.”