Former NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley spoke out against recent comments by LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, concerning his son's potential to become better than Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.
On Tuesday, Sean Deveney of Sporting News passed along recent comments from Barkley, who didn't hold back when it came to LaVar's remarks:
Just because you say some s--t, doesn't make it right. He's gonna be better than Steph Curry? That's what he said. Steph Curry has won a couple MVPs, he's pretty good. Man, let me tell you something. That's that AAU s--t. You can't say a guy is going to be better than Steph Curry, a guy who has played 30 college games. I know you can be proud of your son, but at some point, it becomes stupidity.
The elder Ball has been talking up his son on a seemingly endless basis in recent weeks.
Sports Illustrated provided the Curry-related statement he made last month during an appearance on ESPN.
"I have the upmost confidence in what my boy is doing," LaVar said. "I'm going to tell you right now, he's better than Stephen Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA's team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens."
That statement is far-fetched, to say the least.
Curry averaged 28.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.5 steals during his final collegiate season. One year prior, he almost single-handedly carried the Davidson Wildcats to the Elite Eight.
The face of the Warriors franchise has gone on to win two MVP awards, including the first unanimous selection in league history, and an NBA championship while getting named to four All-Star teams at the sport's highest level.
Ball, while immensely talented, ranks third on his own team in scoring. He checks in at 14.9 points, 7.8 assists, 6.2 rebounds and two steals per game for the talent-laden Bruins this season.
That's good enough to make him a top prospect for the 2017 NBA draft on June 22 alongside the likes of Washington's Markelle Fultz and Kansas' Josh Jackson.
Jovan Buha of ESPN relayed comments from Ball's father about why Lonzo should be No. 1:
Now the question is whether LaVar's upselling of Lonzo's outlook is having a negative impact on his stock. One NBA general manager talked with Sporting News about the issue.
"It doesn't help, all this stuff with his father," the GM said. "I don't know what is gained for the kid by putting that much pressure on him. Nobody from the league has been meeting with [Lonzo Ball] or anything, but that is going to be another thing to look at when it comes to due diligence before the draft. How does he handle his dad; is it just something he laughs about, or is it real pressure on him?"
All told, Ball has the tools to become a special player in the NBA. Maybe one day he'll deserve to get mentioned in the same class as Curry. But Barkley is right. And the added pressure isn't doing Lonzo any favors.