By Richard Ray:
I do not even believe the headline of this article, but the subjectivity on this topic makes the outrageousness of my headline as true as anything else written.
USA Today sports columnist Nancy Armour just wrote a piece titled “It’s Official: Lavar Ball is the worst sports parent ever.” I have read the opinion piece and it clear by the lack of supporting evidence that Armour appears to know Lavar about as well as I do (which is not at all), so I feel equally qualified to weigh in on the slander that the press is so comfortable in aiming at Lavar Ball’s direction.
Lavar Ball is a Big, Brash, Black man. He has no boss and his unfiltered voice and actions show a man not only fearless of keeping within established norms, but someone who seems hell bent on breaking all the rules (legally) as it pertains to him, his family and his brand.
Lavar has a big mouth, and it has served him well in establishing a brand. It has also clearly created waves in his wake. He is definitely not without missteps, and it is unclear how much of his own hype (i.e. son being better than 2 time MVP Steph Curry, or him beating MJ in a game of 1 on 1) he actually believes, but I think most of us keep it within the perspective of the entertaining value it is supposed to have.
Yet, like clock work, the White dominated media never lets an opportunity to remind a boisterous Black man what his place is when he shows no respect or gratitude for the platform that the press “gave” him to entertain us all. The final tipping point for Armour to call Lavar the worst sports parent was his decision to home school his youngest child and prohibit him from playing in a high school system he no longer agreed with.
I am not a parent, however I take offense at anyone calling someone the worst parent, (minus definitive proof like physical abuse) when there is just as much subjective evidence to support calling Lavar the best. First off the jury is still out, and will be for the next 3-4 years before we can even judge whether from a purely basketball sense Lavar made the right decision to remove his son from high school basketball. Kids are home schooled all the time, because parents have decided that a formal school environment was not the proper setting for their child. No one questions those parents or calls them horrible implying that they have put their own interests in front of their child.
Each child is different. I do not know if it is or will be a good thing for LaMelo’s development as a player or person, but what I have seen from Lavar, including watching 3 episodes of the Ball reality show, is that he is a man that clearly loves and is devoted to his family. Who are any of us to judge this man for how he raises his children? We don’t have to agree with his methods. He loves his wife, his kids, it seems apparent they love him. If they do not all become NBA players, does that make him a failure? How are any of us to judge Lamelo’s development as a person to know whether he is failing as a parent.
The kids and his wife will ultimately make that call and judgement and no-one else. The comfortableness of the press so easily slandering a man and his parenting abilities is at least in part racially motivated. That statement is not a fact but my subjective view in historically seeing the systemic dismantling of Black males who got too boisterous for their own britches.
The press will never say it’s racial, and perhaps that is not the only reason, but I think it safe to say to expect to see more and more slandering of Lavar Ball as a person and parent. Lavar’s brashness will give people plenty of opportunity to talk about him, but read and hear the comments with an eye and ear for the mainstream press’ agenda of keeping him in “his place”. None of us have to agree with his methodology, but be careful when you start judging a man without knowing how those close to him really feel and not our own biases and experiences overwhelming the individual facts of a story.
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