While LaVar Ball may steal most of the headlines, Lonzo Ball’s girlfriend, Denise Garcia, is also a major part of Ball’s life. Ball and Garcia met at Chino Hills High School.
The two share a love for athletics as Garcia is a midfielder on the UC Riverside soccer team, where she is studying to be a registered nurse anesthetist. Ball opts to keep their relationship out of the spotlight, but the couple does post photos of their time together on social media.
Garcia, like the rest of the Ball family, was hoping the Lakers draft Ball which would keep him close to home. She could be seen watching the lottery intently with the Ball family on the night the NBA lottery order was announced. It became apparent that Ball had a good chance to go to the Lakers much to the excitement of Garcia, and everyone else in the room.
The Lakers made this dream a reality when they selected Ball with the second pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Meet the woman who has been by Ball’s side long before the NBA spotlight.
1. The Couple Met While Attending Chino Hills High School
The couple met at Chino Hills High School. Garcia graduated in 2014 while Ball graduated more recently in 2016. Ball is 19 years old, while Garcia is a bit older at 21. Like Ball, Garcia is a California native from West Covina, California.
Garcia was quite the soccer player at Chino Hills. According to UC Riverside, she was team captain from 2012-14. Garcia was named the Defensive MVP in 2012. She was a two-time member of the Second Team All-League. The team made deep runs during Garcia’s high school days. Chino Hills advanced to the CIF Semifinals in 2012, and the CIF Quarterfinals in 2013.
2. Denise Plays Soccer at UC Riverside in California
Now that Ball is on the Lakers, the couple does not have the complications of a long-distance relationship. UC Riverside is about an hour east of Los Angeles. According to UC Riverside, Garcia wants to be a registered nurse anesthetist. As a junior, she is slated to graduate in 2018.
Like Ball, Garcia has a passion for sports. However, her favorite sport happens to be football, not basketball. She posted a photo of her in Rams gear on Instagram:
Her previous Seattle University bio notes she loves both college football and the NFL.
3. She Started College at Seattle University
Garcia initially attended Seattle University before transferring to UC Riverside after her freshman year. Seattle had a successful season finishing 15-4-3.
Garcia and her teammates made the NCAA tournament. Seattle defeated Washington State in the first round in double overtime. Seattle would come up short against South Carolina in the next round. Seattle lost the match on penalty kicks.
It would turn out to be her last match in Seattle. After the match, Garcia posted a photo with the team on Instagram with the following caption: “Is crazy how I used to watch the NCAA soccer tournament games on tv, thinking about how much I wish I was playing. To now, where I was able to be apart of it in Chapel Hill, fighting to make the round of 16. Today, the best team didn’t win but I have had an unforgettable journey as a freshman so s/o to my teammates,” Garcia wrote.
4. Unlike His Father, Lonzo Is Quiet & Prefers to Keep Things Private
It might seem shocking given his father’s brashness, but Ball prefers to keep to himself. Much like his mother’s health condition, he prefers to keep his relationship with Garcia private.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne described Ball’s personality, and relationship with Garcia in a feature she did on the family.
He’s [Lonzo Ball] also quiet, except around his younger brothers or when he’s playing video games. He lets his girlfriend, Denise, make cute Instagram videos of them set to music. His favorite drink is Martinelli’s apple cider. His favorite rapper is Future. No, Lil Wayne. No, Lil Uzi Vert. He listens to all of them, constantly, busting out with a verse between sets of the pullups or shooting drills that LaVar orders.
5. Denise Was With the Ball Family When They Found Out the Lakers Won the Number 2 Pick
Garcia could be seen by Ball’s side as he was watching the 2017 NBA Lottery to determine what teams would land the top picks for the draft. The Ball family had been vocal about their desire to stay in Los Angeles and play for the Lakers. The Lakers needed their pick to be inside the top three, or Los Angeles would send their pick to the Sixers.
“I told him he was going to go to the Lakers. I’m going to speak it into existence. Boston is going to take Markelle Fultz. He’s a good player. I think he fits best with Boston. You can’t bring him to LA. He ain’t ready this. Only one person ready for this. It’s that Ball boy,” LaVar Ball told KCBS after the lottery was unveiled.
LaVar Ball had been adamant his son was going to be a Laker even before the lottery. He has since said all three of his sons will eventually be Lakers. He got his first wish on draft night.