LaVar Ball made headlines again when a report came out that his youngest son LaMelo would no longer be attending Chino Hills High School and instead will be home schooled. LaMelo is a high school junior and the youngest of LaVar’s three sons. This has reignited the debate about LaVar’s parenting. I’m here to tell you, LaVar Ball is making the BEST decision for his son LaMelo by home schooling him. I’m not even sure if LaVar realizes all the reasons his decision is this fantastic, but I got the answers for you:
Fame, popularity, and hype can lead to a loss of focus. Home school offers a potential for a better education, privacy, and teacher(s) dedicated exclusively to him. LaMelo is the most famous high school sophomore athlete of all time. The power of social media adds to his fame. Not even LeBron James received this much press as a 16 year old. So, imagine what school is like for LaMelo… It is very difficult to focus in a learning environment when every move you make, word you write, and things you say are recorded and leaked. We are not too far off from LaMelo’s homework, test, and report cards being leaked to TMZ or blogs. By all accounts, all three of the Ball boys are smart kids and education is a priority. It would be a disservice to his son’s education for LaVar Ball to leave LaMelo in an environment that would hurt his academic progress.
I’ll throw out a few names for you of pro athletes that were home schooled: Blake Griffin, Maria Sharapova, Tim Tebow, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Carly Patterson etc., etc.
Most elite tennis and golf players are home schooled due to the sheer amount of practice time their sports take. Even in basketball it is common. Most people just don’t realize many of the elite prep schools entire student body is comprised of the basketball team. They use a home school model to build an elite basketball program.
LaMelo is already training with pros on a daily basis. His level of competition is higher on a daily basis that most collegiate athletes. Pros don’t train around a traditional high school bell schedule.
All good parents attempt to protect their children from attacks, and things that can derail their future. LaVar is simply protecting LaMelo’s future by taking him out of High school. Nothing about his life suggests a normal high school experience. He is a potential target by girls, teachers, students, and the school board. This reason to home school him is obvious and pretty self-explanatory. Girls will see an opportunity of a meal ticket and good life by being the girlfriend of LaMelo. Some of these young ladies will be willing to do any and everything to gain his affection. Other guys at school will be jealous of the attention, opportunities, and financial status LaMelo has and plot schemes against him. Some teachers and the school board do like the influence, bravado, and confidence the Ball family has. It is hard for many people to accept the level of success of those who they do not feel “deserve” it. And for the good-hearted teachers and members of the school board, they will try to create a culture of “fairness”. In an attempt to ensure they are not appearing to favor LaMelo and LaVar, they will inadvertently unfair to them.
LaMelo May Not Be Eligible
Many detractors will site a courtside interview with Ramona Shelburne, where LaVar says disputes with the new coach at Chino Hills contributed to LaMelo’s departure. I would argue that is a classic Donald Trump move.
When Donald Trump wants to get something done that may cause political opposition, he distracts everyone by picking a fight. A recent example of this is Trump’s new tax plan. Trump knew that the political analysts could be too critical of the new tax plan so he picked a fight with the NFL owners and Steph Curry. He knew the national news would be dominated by his fight and give minimal attention to the details of the new tax plan. This is exactly what LaVar is doing, distracting from negative press.
A few weeks ago, we learned that Big Baller Brand would be releasing LaMelo’s first signature shoe. An “amateur” athlete having his own shoe creates high school and college eligibility issues. Smart money says that LaMelo was not going to be allowed to compete in high school unless he parted with Big Baller Brand. There was no way that was going to happen. So LaVar picked a fight with the high school coach to distract from negative press surrounding LaMelo’s eligibility issues.
Preparing for No College
Currently, LaMelo is committed to following in both his brother’s Lonzo and LiAngelo footsteps and attend UCLA on a basketball scholarship in 2019. I do not believe he will play college basketball. All the writing is on the wall. He is being home schooled, training with pros, and has his own shoe, which could interfere with his college eligibility. We have already seen UCF kicker Donald De La Haye ruled in ineligible by the sweatshop NCAA because he refused to shut his YouTube channel down. So, imagine how hard they would come for a household name like LaMelo Ball. LaVar knows this so he had to come up with a way to circumvent the system.
Remember what LaVar’s goal is: to have all his sons playing in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. We saw how everything fell into place with Lonzo becoming a Laker, but getting the other two on the Lakers will prove more difficult. So, LaVar had to give himself options.
The NBA has a rule stating that you have to be 1 year removed from your high school graduating class to be draft eligible. Conventional wisdom says this leaves the Ball family with one option. LaMelo would play overseas professionally for one year like NBA player Brandon Jennings and come back for the 2020 draft. I have a different solution, and more likely outcome for LaMelo.
By home schooling LaMelo, his high school graduation year can be more easily controlled. We have seen number basketball players including the #1 playing in the nation, Marvin Bagley reclassify from graduating in 2018 to 2017. So technically, LaMelo could either inter college in 2018, 2019, or 2020 depending on what the family feels is his and LiAngelo’s best option for being in Lakers uniforms is.
Initially I was not a LaVar Ball fan. After I realigned my thinking and really objectively looked at his motivations I came to appreciate him. At the core of everything, he is just like all good men. He is a man who loves his family, and is trying to do everything possible to create a good life for them, and help them achieve their dreams. Some times he comes across as a braggadocios blow-heart, but aren’t all disrupters. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, and Phil Knight were all market disrupters and visionaries. LaVar is no different.