While in an interview on ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo show on Wednesday, former NBA star and current NBA analyst Charles Barkley took the opportunity to rip on LaVar Ball for exploiting his three sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo.
“Everybody talking about how he might be a good father, this and that. No he’s not. 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,” he said. “I just don’t like the guy at all, plain and simple. And don’t tell me he’s a good father. Just because you exploit your kids, trying to make money because you have no talent, that does not make you a good father.”
It’s been a crazy year for the Ball family. It began with the hype for oldest son, Lonzo, while he was playing on the UCLA Bruins basketball team. He was eventually drafted second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
In between Lonzo’s fast start into fame, his father was busy promoting their clothing company “Big Baller Brand” and the family’s own reality show.
All through this, LaVar remained a consistently outspoken advocate for his sons and marketer for his brand. His strong takes in the media made him a controversial figure in the process.
LiAngelo, his middle son, was arrested in China for theft last month while playing for UCLA as a freshman.
After being suspended indefinitely by the program, LaVar pulled he and the youngest son, LaMelo, out of school and helped them get signed overseas to play for Lithuanian club Prienu Vytautas.
There’s been debate regarding the decisions LaVar and his family have made and whether he is exploiting his children or simply helping his family maximize the amount of money it could make at the expense of being exploited by other institutions like the NCAA, where players aren’t paid.
Barkley clearly agrees with the former argument.
“I just feel sadness that the media, CNN, ESPN, has given this guy a platform,” he added. “He represents everything that is bad about sports. It’s all about him. I just feel bad for those kids.”