Tags: lavar ball | luke walton | magic johnson | lakers

LaVar Ball's Luke Walton Comment Hits a Magic Nerve

Image: LaVar Ball's Luke Walton Comment Hits a Magic Nerve
LaVar Ball (Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 16 February 2018 11:40 AM

LaVar Ball's criticism of Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton hit a nerve of team president and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who reportedly called in one of Ball’s associates to admonish him.

Ball, the outspoken and antic father of Lakers' star guard Lonzo Ball and founder of Big Baller Brand, apparently got under Johnson's skin during a nine-game losing streak recently, publicly criticizing Walton in the media, ESPN reported.

"(Walton) doesn't have control of the team no more," Ball said in the middle of the Lakers losing streak last month, ESPN said. "That's a good team. Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don't know why they're in the game. He's too young. He's too young. ... He ain't connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he's not connecting with not one player."

ESPN reported Thursday that while Johnson did not address his conversation with Ball's associate directly, he also didn’t deny his rumored growing irritation with the vocal basketball dad.

"Look, we had lost nine in a row and you didn't hear nothing from me, right? I was supporting Luke through all nine in a row," Johnson told ESPN. "So now, LaVar comes out and says something, and everybody asks, 'Why didn't you say nothing?' I'm not gonna respond to people saying different things.”

"[Walton] already had my vote of confidence. There's never been a question about his job security here. But everybody else was trying to make a big deal out of it. … So I said we should do nothing because if we react to this, now anytime somebody says something about the Lakers, we gotta react. We know what we have, we know who we are. And the team responded, and we're better. So I'm happy we just didn't jump out there."

Described in some circles as the Kris Kardashian of basketball, LaVar Ball orchestrated the departure of his son LiAngelo Ball, 19, from UCLA, and LaMelo Ball, 16, from high school to play basketball in Lithuania and proclaimed that all three will be playing for the Lakers by 2020, according to Lithuanian reporter Donatas Urbonas.

In the Urbonas interview, LaVar Ball even threatened that Lonzo Ball, 20, would not re-sign with the Lakers unless his other brothers join him.

LiAngelo Ball -- along with Bruin players Jalen Hill and Cody Riley -- was suspended from the team indefinitely after being accused of shoplifting at an upscale mall in China during an overseas trip in November, per The Los Angeles Times.

Lonzo Ball, 20, who is averaging a little more than 10 points per game in his rookie season with the Lakers, is currently recovering from a sprained left medial collateral ligament that has kept him out of the lineup for almost a month, the Times noted.

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LaVar Ball's criticism of Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton hit a nerve of team president and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who reportedly called in one of Ball’s associates to admonish him.
lavar ball, luke walton, magic johnson, lakers
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Friday, 16 February 2018 11:40 AM
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