LiAngelo Ball, younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has been conspicuously present in Lakers circles recently. LiAngelo was seen Tuesday wearing Lakers gear and taking part in drills along with five other players invited by the organization to take place in pre-draft workouts with the team.
A night earlier, the younger Ball was allowed to gain entrance to the Lakers headquarters for an individual practice session. LiAngelo, perhaps displaying the marketing skills picked up from his father, took advantage of the opportunity to put on an impromptu slam dunk show. The performance was caught on tape and was aired shortly after by TMZ.
LiAngelo is not considered to be anywhere close to becoming an NBA prospect in the near future but is getting the privileges as such with them. One theory regarding this is that the organization may be planning to make him a member of one of the team’s summer league teams.
Detractors of the team’s actions regarding LiAngelo feel that the team is making a big mistake by placating to an NBA dad that has past threatened to pull his oldest son Lonzo from the court if his two younger brothers do not become Lakers when eligible. These detractors also feel that the Lakers have appeased dad LaVar Ball much too much since making his son the second pick in the NBA draft. This as LaVar, tore the organization and coaching staff down in the media time and time again.
Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson defended the invitation extended to LiAngelo by saying that as an organization the Lakers are willing to take a look at all prospective players. Johnson added that you never truly know where the talent is until a player is given a chance.
Many with an opposing view feel that the team is sending the wrong message to employees who have suffered verbal batterings from the elder Ball already.
Head Coach Luke Walton, who in fact worked directly with LiAngelo Ball during the practice session, was himself the object of criticism for LaVar Ball in January when Ball said that the team did not want to play for Walton.
A similar situation was observed with the team’s training staff who made themselves available to LiAngelo during the recent session after being scapegoated for the injuries sustained by Lonzo.