Lonzo Ball had a ton of hype surrounding him coming out of UCLA. While he obviously never became the Magic Johnson-caliber talent some viewed as his ceiling, he could still be a very valuable contributor in his own ways.
Between his IQ on offense, playmaking abilities and tenacious defense, Lonzo was more than good enough to earn consistent playing time in the NBA. One issue has consistently plagued the 25-year-old throughout his six-year pro career, though: injuries.
Back in 2020, Lonzo appeared on a podcast and seemed to suggest that the chronic health issues he has consistently dealt with were a byproduct of the Big Baller Brand shoes his dad, LaVar, insisted he wear.
“If you literally have those shoes from those games, they’re exploded,” Lonzo said at the time.
“Cause they were my shoe. I had to debut them,” he continued. “We went so far with it. I’m like, ‘Cool, I can get a quarter in, but that’s it. We gotta switch them every quarter.’”
Recently, LaVar appeared on VLAD TV and responded to that claim.
“You can get hurt in any shoe you wear,” LaVar said.
“Truth be told, Nike’s track record of getting people hurt is better than mine. Kobe [Bryant] got hurt. [Kevin Durant] got tore up. Anybody who wears shoes, [Stephen] Curry with the Under Armour. Zion [Williamson] tore his shoe up, but you wanna create a narrative that, ‘LaVar, his shoes messed up Lonzo a long time ago’.
“Wait, Lonzo tore his knee up in Nike’s. He was good in my show. He hurt his ankle in my shoe, but the knee was in Nike’s… Lonzo was playing 100 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour shoe. Two things can happen, either the shoe gonna give or the body gonna give. They tore that boy’s knees up, going 100 miles an hour. Nike done tore you up.”
Obviously LaVar will never come out and say that he is the reason his son has chronic injury issues. But the friction that developed between the two of them speaks for itself.
Brittany Mahomes’ skirt for yesterday’s Chiefs vs Broncos game stole the show from Taylor Swift and everyone else: https://t.co/ydH8nMO77u
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 13, 2023
There is a reason over the past few years LaVar has gotten far more vocal about LaMelo, and a lot less talkative when it comes to Lonzo.
Whatever the cause, clearly Lonzo’s career has been very adversely impacted by injuries already. Will he be able to fix that over the next few years? Time will tell.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.