LaVar, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball appeared on The Breakfast Club radio show on Wednesday, and the eldest Ball had strong words when asked by Charlamagne Tha God if the perception of him would be the same if he were a caucasian man.
"Heck no. They're scared of me because I'm uncontrollable," he said (h/t TMZ Sports). "When you can't control one of us, you in trouble. Now, our vision is wide open, but we've been doing the same thing everybody else who has a vision has been doing. We're just different."
As TMZ Sports noted, "Ball then explains what he means—that a black man with a vision is a threat to the status quo, and he feels he's been vilified to a degree for being that threat."
You can see the full interview below:
And so the debate over LaVar Ball and his basketball family rages on. Few figures have been more divisive in sports over the past year.
Some see Ball as an outspoken and brash figure who has exploited his sons to build his Big Baller Brand athletic apparel company. They believe he stirs up controversy as a marketing ploy and remains relevant in a media landscape that increasingly embraces debate-style analysis. For those people, he represents the shameless commodification of sport, and some have gone so far as to suggest he isn't a good father.
"Everybody talking about how he might be a good father, this and that. No he's not," NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said Wednesday on ESPN Radio's Golic & Wingo show (h/t Cork Gaines of Business Insider). "He's just exploiting his kids. ... He's all about Big Baller Brand. He has no foreseeable talent. He's trying to make money off his kids, and I just feel sadness for those kids because they're going to do whatever he tells them to do. I just don't like the guy at all, plain and simple."
Other people, however, see Ball as a man who is controlling the brand of his children rather than handing over those rights to other companies. He's sending his sons overseas to play basketball where they'll be paid to do so, rather than having them play in college where they wouldn't be paid. For some, Ball is a savvy businessman who advocates ceaselessly for his sons and is trying to capitalize on their image and protect their market value rather than allowing outside sources to control their brand.
Without question, Ball has blasted through the status quo, and it's fair to question if the perception of Ball would be different if he were white. Without question, however, Ball and his family have become a cultural phenomenon not completely dissimilar from the Kardashians, fueled by the public debate about whether they should be a cultural phenomenon in the first place.