As a parent, it is a very thin line and even a slippery slope to talk about another parent’s parental training and discipline. This time, I’m jumping over the line and running down that slope. LaVar Ball is doing his kids a huge injustice. It makes absolutely no sense to pull your middle son, LiAngelo, from UCLA. There is nothing wrong with preparing your child for the NBA early. However, the reason behind doing so is the red flag.
LaVar Ball stated, “We are exploring other options with Gelo. He’s out of there. My boy is loyal to me. I tried to let UCLA deal with the process and he should have been playing the next week.” What on God’s green earth are you doing LaVar?! You are enabling your son to circumvent responsibilities and consequences. LiAngelo was arrested in China, along with two other teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill. In China, there are basically two types of punishment: Traditional criminal punishment, and administrative punishment. Criminal punishment is the most severe while the other is reserved for less-serious crimes. The latter is punishable by fines and up to 15 days in jail, at the discretion of police. They would probably fall under the administrative punishment since they were caught stealing. It could have been more severe since they were caught stealing out of three stores. One of the stores was Louis Vuitton, in which the group of guys stole some sunglasses. First of all, why are you stealing out of Louis Vuitton? They have cameras on top of cameras in that high end shop. I guess Sunglass Hut didn’t have the frames they needed? No disrespect to Sunglass Hut, but come on. Second, why are they stealing from THREE stores? You didn’t think that doing it the first time wasn’t wrong? Apparently, you thought that stealing in a foreign country would be a fun thing to do. Third, especially for LiAngelo, you are in the family business known as the Big Baller Brand. Your dad has come out and said, “If you can’t afford the ZO2’s, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!” Big Ballers don’t need to steal.
Thankfully, for all of the young guys, they were released, charges were dropped, and there are no records on file in China. I don’t even think they are banned from the country, but I’m sure they will be under high surveillance if they do return. Because of being an embarrassment to the university, all of the players were suspended indefinitely. They have missed eight games so far, and there is no specific timetable on their return. This is what prompted LaVar to pull his son from the school. He felt that since his son was released then all is forgiven and that is the extent of any further disciplinary actions. No sir! He was on UCLA’s dime when he was in China. He was carrying the UCLA name literally and figuratively. To assume that the punishment here in the United States was overkill is absurd. He is costing his son a free education at a great school. What parent would not want their kid to have a full ride, even if they could afford it? Granted, he only expected his son to be in school on year and go to the NBA. But let’s be honest, LiAngelo has not been referenced by anybody in the NBA as a potential prospect. He needs to understand the family business and learn that. He is not as good as his two brothers. LaVar’s current plan is to work directly with LiAngelo to prepare him for the 2018 NBA draft rather than having him join another college team. He said, “I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have. He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft.” LaVar’s dream of having all his sons on the Los Angeles Lakers seems to be a dream deferred (Langston Hughes).
Having a father in your life is extremely important. I applaud LaVar for being there for his sons. Too many kids don’t have that, and an empty void is something that can’t be replaced. It can be masked over with a father like figure but there is no getting around a loving father that is present. With that being said, there comes a point and time in your child’s life that you have to let them grow into adulthood. You have to take off the proverbial training wheels and allow them to ride on their own. They have to understand that they are accountable for their actions. They have to know that for every action there is a reaction. They need to recognize what it means to make mistakes and pay for them. It requires them “bumping their head” and learning some hard life lessons. These lessons are what LiAngelo should be learning at this moment. As a parent, you want to shield your child from as much danger and harm as possible. Nevertheless, you don’t do it at the expense of making them unappreciative, quitters, and above the law. LaVar has to learn proper “Ball Control” or he will lose his sons in more ways than one.