LaVar Ball is probably one of the most quotable people in sports. On Thursday afternoon, I caught up with Ball by phone and discussed a myriad of topics.
We discussed ESPN’s Chicago Bulls documentary, The Last Dance. We also discussed Big Baller Brand’s relaunch and virtual pop-up shop for fans on Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2.
For those keeping score at home: The virtual pop-up shop will be streamed on Big Baller Brand’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and those who place orders of $60 or more will get their merchandise personally signed by LaVar Ball.
In addition to Big Baller Brand, Ball and I also discussed his son Lonzo Ball’s role with the New Orleans Pelicans with Zion Williamson, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis and LeBron James in Los Angeles and LaMelo Ball’s decision to sign with Jay-Z’s RocNation Sports.
Check out our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The mic is hot so, I guess my first question to you is, tell me a little bit about the Pop-Up Shop that you guys are doing Friday and Saturday.
LaVar Ball: On this Friday and Saturday we’re doing a virtual pop-up shop. It’s the first one. Like I said with my team, we’re always coming up with new ideas. And I’m a people person. So purchases over $60.00, with the merch I like to interact with the consumer and the change. I’m a people person like I said. So, it’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What are you most looking forward to with the pop-up shop?
LaVar Ball: It’s something different. And with the quarantine going on, we need to interact and do something. So once they buy merch, they make their interactions through Zoom, they can talk to the Big Baller Boy for about 15-20 seconds. Just like I do in a regular pop-up shop. Just being interactive with the people. It’s cool.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You’re a man amongst the people as you mentioned, I’m curious to know from your perspective I think its cool…the Pelicans rise particularly with Zion Williamson coming back; your son Lonzo and Zion seem to connect like peanut butter and jelly. What have you seen from your perspective and how has their rise before the quarantine break impressed you?
LaVar Ball: Lonzo can play with anybody. Everybody saying that it’s his special gift. He makes everybody around him special. As long as you have confidence and you have the coach’s respect. Let Lonzo do what he does. And now that he’s super successful, everybody’s like, Oh! But the thing is he’s been doing that since the first day in training. All that he was doing over there with the Lakers. That wasn’t no training. He was hurt. Now he’s not hurt and he can perform like he always do. When you’re practicing and training the right way and you show confidence in your game and people let you do what you’re supposed to do, that’s all it’s about man. You’re going to be very successful.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson:You talked about the Lakers. Jason Kidd signed to the Lakers as an assistant coach. Did you ever subscribe to the theory that Lonzo Ball and Jason Kidd had similar games?
LaVar Ball: Everybody would like to compare that to him. I mean, Jason Kidd passes the ball, light-skinned, big guard…he has to get it from somebody, he’s more athletic than that. He shoots better than that. He’s hungrier than him. I’m trying to see where the comparison is. But you know to make a story, that’s what the media do – ‘Oh he’s like this guy, he’s like that guy’…No, like I said my boy is a new breed.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The NBA’s G-League has changed their info structure. Going against the NCAA. And one thing that I find interesting is when you started JBA, you kind of went against the grain. I’m curious to know your perspective on what just has been going on recently in the climate and the G-League is kind of going toe-to-toe with the NCAA.
LaVar Ball: Well the NCAA and the G-League have to do something different and I don’t need people on the outside saying that, “Oh Lavar Ball, he did that…” I’ma do what I do. People gotta respond to it. I just want to open their eyes and say you know if you want to do something, go do what you want to do and not go through other things. But you’re not stupid. If you want to go play basketball, then why you got to study for a chemistry test and a Spanish test if you really want to focus on basketball? So like I said they have to make some decisions or how are we going to keep the youth? And if you just want to play basketball, then this is for you. Now it’s not for everybody because you might not be talented as you think you are, but guess what? You can get an education so you can get a job and take care of yourself. But if you want to go all in, go 100% in and want perfection that’s your option and if it doesn’t work out, there’s another option and that’s the end of that.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Your son LaMelo signed with Roc Nation Sports. I’m curious to know from your perspective, are you actually a Jay-Z fan as far as his music goes?
LaVar Ball: Scoop, you are a curious person! I like that! You’re a curious guy! [laughs] —-
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Listen man, I love the culture and I love basketball and I want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. You’re a quotable dude so I know you’re the source to talk to.
LaVar Ball: Okay! There you go! Shoot, when you’re checking out these agencies what I like about Roc Nation is they don’t say what is good for us. They take care of us the same not like when they get around to it. And like I said when you go to these different agencies and they’re not doing exactly what we want them to do, guess what? We got to keep moving until we find the one that’s compatible with us. And I think with Roc Nation, they even sound good – We gonna ‘Roc’ the world. Big Baller. Look at the name sounds good. We don’t want to join the team, we want to join the nation.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Have you got a chance to check out the ‘Last Dance’ documentary?
LaVar Ball: Oh yeah, I saw some of that. There ain’t nothing else to look at! [laughs]
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What has been your synopsis and what have you learned from it that you didn’t know?
LaVar Ball: What have I learned from the ‘Last Dance’?…I ain’t learn nothing from that! I knew all of that already. I seen all of that in true life, I don’t need to see a video about it!
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How have you grown as a person during this coronavirus pandemic? A lot of creatives and a lot of people have used this time to kind of just, build on to the next thing. What have you learned and what have you self-reflected on that’s going to make you a better person when you come out?
LaVar Ball: I ain’t learn nothing man! I’m a better person anyway! I’m just stating a fact. The Big Baller Business is back.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Last question. When you look at the Lakers organization this season, objectively speaking are you impressed with the play of LeBron James and Anthony Davis this season?
LaVar Ball: Am I impressed? No. I’m only impressed with what my sons are doing. I’m not worried about anybody else. I don’t care about them. I only care about only what my boys [are doing] first.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That’s fair. Mr. Ball you are off the hot seat. Thank you so much for your time sir!
LaVar Ball: Hey man, you’re more than welcome. I’ll holler at you later man.