John Calipari Credits LaVar Ball for Being 'Involved' in TMZ Exclusive

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 26: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats gestures in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 26, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While many have been critical of LaVar Ball's headline-making ways, Kentucky head men's basketball coach John Calipari expressed a different view Tuesday.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Calipari praised LaVar's involvement with his son, former UCLA guard and top NBA draft prospect Lonzo Ball, after being asked if he'd ever had a parent such as Ball around his program: "I was so far removed, I don't even know what that means. I know he's involved. But fathers being involved aren't always bad for these kids."

The elder Ball has been outspoken with regard to Lonzo, as well as his younger sons LaMelo and LiAngelo, both of whom are committed to play at UCLA.

Ball has publicly pushed his Big Baller Brand to the point that Nike, Under Armour and Adidas all passed on an endorsement deal for Lonzo.

Per ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, the companies didn't want to license Big Baller Brand, nor did they have interest in LaVar's prototype shoe.

According to Michael Smith of SportsBusiness Journal, Nike executive George Raveling recently called LaVar "the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years."

LaVar Ball's big personality tends to rub people the wrong way at times, and the same can be said for Calipari, which could explain why the Kentucky coach is more understanding of his situation than most.

  

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