Once again, LaVar Ball has given a media interview. And once again, the father of former UCLA guard Lonzo Ball is risking alienating NBA teams by publicly pushing for Lonzo to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Oh, he's going to be a Laker," LaVar told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne in a wide-ranging profile. "I'm going to keep talking about it until it happens."
The Ball family's attempt to nudge Lonzo in the Lakers' direction is nothing new. LaVar has publicly expressed his desire for Lonzo to be a Laker on a number of occasions, to the point he's also had to clarify his son would play for other franchises.
Lonzo, who played high school basketball in Chino Hills, California, and went close to home at UCLA, has also said being a Laker means more than going No. 1 overall in June's draft. He also told Shelburne he stands behind his father despite his increasingly controversial public reputation.
"I believe what he says," Lonzo said. "And I'm 100 percent behind it."
It seems Lonzo has grown satisfied with LaVar being his boisterous public soapbox while he lounges in the background and focuses on basketball. Lonzo told Shelburne he prefers staying at home in Chino Hills to Los Angeles, choosing nights of movies and hanging out in the hotel room when UCLA played on the road over more lavish outings.
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"I do all my playing on the court," Lonzo said. "He can say whatever he wants off of it.
"He's been here my whole life," he added. "I wouldn't be here without him. So if I go back on him, that's like going back on what I've been doing my whole life, and I don't think that's right."
Lonzo, who averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds during his only season at UCLA, is considered a co-favorite with Washington's Markelle Fultz to go No. 1 in June's draft. While both are point guards, the decision between Fultz and Ball may come down to which team wins Tuesday's lottery. A smaller-market team may gravitate toward Fultz's less headline-driven persona, while a major market (specifically Los Angeles) may view Ball as a star in the making.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that LaVar's presence would not have an impact on whether the team would select Lonzo.
Until the next season starts, Lonzo and LaVar Ball will continue being picked apart online with every quote, $495 shoe release or rap bar thrown out on SoundCloud. Then we'll get to see if all the fuss was worth it—whether in Los Angeles or in some other city.