LaMelo Ball: '15 Years from Now I Want to Be the Best to Ever Play the Game'

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 23, 2020

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks looks on during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

LaMelo Ball is projected as one of the top picks in the NBA draft this summer and has scouts fawning over his abilities.

As he awaits the day his name is called by commissioner Adam Silver, Ball is putting the highest expectations on himself.

Speaking with GQ Australia's Christopher Riley, Ball stated his goals go beyond becoming the No. 1 pick or winning an NBA title.

"Fifteen years from now, I want to be the best to ever play the game," Ball said.

It's a lofty goal, but one you might expect from a player poised to become a lottery pick.

Ball played 12 games in Australia's National Basketball League with the Illawarra Hawks before a foot injury kept him from finishing the season. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.

He'll have to produce much more in the NBA if he wants to take the title of the greatest of all time.

One way to stake a claim would be to win at least five NBA titles—joining the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. From a statistical perspective, Ball may have an even tougher challenge.

To pass John Stockton as the NBA's all-time assist leader (15,806), Ball would need to average 13 assists per game for 82 games over 15 years. To pass Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer (38,387), Ball would have to average 32 points per game over the same stretch—assuming LeBron James doesn't pass that mark first and set a new record. James is still 4,300 points away despite having played 17 years.

One person who may not be surprised should Ball reach his goal? His NBL coach, Matt Flinn.

"He sees things happen before they happen," Flinn told Riley. "The really great players watch the defense rather than the offense. And he just naturally does that."

A lot can happen in 15 years, and goals can certainly change. So, too, can the definition of the NBA's GOAT. By then, Ball may have found his way into the conversation. His first step toward making his case begins this summer when the NBA draft kicks off.