by Matt George – Sports 1140 KHTK Reporter
Ah LaVar Ball. The circus clown of the professional basketball world. Not afraid to open his mouth and say what he thinks any time a microphone is put in front of it. Well, surprise surprise, he has done it again. This time targeting Los Angeles Lakers (his oldest son Lonzo Ball’s team) head coach Luke Walton.
“You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more. Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him.” Those are the words of LaVar Ball published on ESPN yesterday.
Today, multiple NBA coaches, including Dallas Mavericks head coach, and president of the NBA Coaches Association, Rick Carlisle, are criticizing ESPN for not just printing the comments, but giving LaVar the platform in the first place.
“As president of the coaches association, I view the recent ESPN article as a disgrace, quite honestly. Luke Walton is a terrific, young coach who is bringing along a young team, and it’s a difficult task.”
Carlisle’s comments quickly drifted away from supporting Walton to scolding ESPN, whom Carlisle worked for as an analyst during the 2007-2008 season. He claims that printing comments like these, as a media company that is partnered with the NBA, “erodes trust” with NBA coaches.
“I’m saying they should look at their sources and do a better job of determining whether they have any merit or validity. Or are they just blowhard loudmouths?”
Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy also voiced his displeasure with ESPN earlier today in New Orleans. “I thought it was a cheap shot and I thought ESPN showed total disrespect. I don’t have a problem with LaVar Ball. He’s a grown man. He can voice whatever opinion he wants. I got a problem with ESPN deciding that’s a story.”
Van Gundy has reportedly reached out to Carlisle, the NBA Players Association, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, threatening to not cooperate with the extra access given to ESPN’s TV broadcast of the Pistons vs Washington Wizards on January 19th.
“I’m not denying them access. I’m not kicking them out of press conferences. They want extra stuff from us and they’re going to treat an NBA coach with that little respect? Then I’m going to choose not to give them extra access.”
When asked about his father’s recent comments, Lonzo Ball told the media, “I’ll play for anybody. (LaVar is) a grown man. Like I said, he’s going to say what he’s going to say. I can’t do nothing about it.”
Oddly enough, Luke Walton appears to be the one handling LaVar’s comments the best. “I’m fine with it, it doesn’t bother me. My only concern with any of it is for ‘Zo. As long as ‘Zo is fine with it, and ‘Zo can come in and play, and it doesn’t affect mine and his relationship, then it doesn’t bother me at all.”