In case you haven’t heard, LaVar Ball is the extremely opinionated father of one-and-done phenom and passer extraordinaire Lonzo Ball, along with his younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo. According to LaVar, he’s smarter than Charles Barkley, would have killed Michael Jordan in a game of 1-on-1, and will secure the first billion dollar shoe contract in a package deal for all three of his sons.
Modest may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of Mr. Ball – actually it’s probably the last – but in order to save ammo for future interviews, he’s actually kept a few key facts about his indisputable greatness to himself. Fortunately, we did a little digging into his past and can exclusively report the following facts:
6. He’s Responsible for Revitalizing Downtown Los Angeles
LaVar has always been that dude who can get good seats for any game, so one time, while the Lakers were still playing in Inglewood, he found himself sitting behind Jerry Buss and next to then-Mayor Richard Riordan. LaVar and Riordan struck up a conversation about how long they waited in traffic to get there, and before long they were speculating on places to move the Lakers’ home court. LaVar suggested downtown, Buss gave his approval (it doesn’t matter where the arena is when you take a helicopter), and the next thing you know the Lakers were playing at the Staples Center, the anchor tenant of LA Live, which is the multi-use complex that kicked off the rebirth of downtown LA.
5. He Came Up With the Plot for the Movie Heat
When Lonzo was young, he went to a really challenging elementary school where they started giving out creative writing assignments at a very young age. Since he could barely read, never mind write, he got some help from his old man. LaVar spun a little ditty about a cop and a bank robber in LA, both more committed to their work than to any other human being. Lonzo got an A and brought the paper home to show dad. Dad tossed it in the garbage and didn’t think twice about it. Except that the next day, the garbagemen accidentally ripped the bag while picking up the trash, and the paper floated out of the truck and into the front yard of one Michael Mann, who then lived down the street from the Balls. About 18 months later, LaVar was at the movies and noticed a preview that looked awfully familiar. Luckily for Mann, LaVar doesn’t do grudges.
4. He Got Kobe to the Lakers
In the mid-’90s, LaVar and Jerry West used to work out at the same gym over by LAX, and every Tuesday morning they would both shave their entire body side-by-side in the locker room while watching SportsCenter and making small talk with one another. One day in the spring of ’96 the Logo let it slip that he was planning on trading up to draft Antoine Walker. Ball shook his head at the mention of Walker and instead told West about a high school kid he had recently seen on a business trip to Philadelphia.
A draft day trade of Vlade Divac and 33,643 regular season points later, LaVar was proven right. It wouldn’t be the last time.
3. He Came Up With the Idea for Google
In January of 1996, LaVar was on a business trip to Silicon Valley, attempting to mind his own business at a Palo Alto coffee shop between meetings, when he overheard two dorky grad students arguing over the best way to build a search engine. Never one to hold back, LaVar said, “why don’t you guys rank each individual page based on relevancy, and create a metric called PageRank to do so? Your users will love you for it!” The rest, as they say, is history.
Remember that whole silly Bush/Gore thing? How they weren’t sure who won and had to decide it in the courts? What you probably don’t remember is that LaVar Ball actually received the most votes in that election, but declined the offer to become the first black president, choosing instead to focus on the FAR more important task of nurturing his sons’ basketball careers. It was only then that Bush and Gore battled it out for the top job.
1. He Ended the California Drought
Still gathering details on how exactly he pulled this off, but the drought’s fucking over, isn’t it? Don’t doubt the man: thank him and go about your day…