LaVar Ball has, suddenly and spectacularly, thrust himself into the national spot and become one of the most polarizing figures in sports as he attempts to guide his three sons to a "billion-dollar" shoe deal and NBA stardom.
An unshakeably confident and proud dad, Ball has boasted that his eldest son - UCLA phenom Lonzo Ball - is already on Steph Curry's level, which has raised the eyebrows of a number of NBA stars around the league.
On Monday's episode of The Herd, Colin Cowherd and former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin gave two very different takes on Ball's parenting style, and debated whether Ball is helping or hurting his sons. You can watch the segment here.
Colin Cowherd: The knee-jerk reaction to UCLA's loss was that LaVar Ball is a bad parent
"LaVar Ball, that guy’s a ‘bad dad,’ they say. Putting pressure on his children. ‘See Colin! He wasn’t very good against Kentucky!’
Yeah, because Kentucky’s got two NBA guards, both will be lottery picks. Like they haven’t eaten guys alive all year long, Kentucky’s backcourt.
This is very interesting. I found this to be the most interesting thing of the weekend. So Lonzo Ball, his dad is crazy LaVar Ball, who has been saying he’s going to be the next Steph Curry. He’s been hyping him up, and that does not sit well with a lot of you. That is a ‘bad dad,’ I hear.
What’s funny is he got all three of his boys scholarships to UCLA. ‘Bad parent.’ But if I said ‘you know I know this parent, and they got three of their sons to Harvard.’ You’d be like ‘great parent!’ You don’t think they put academic pressure on their kids? OK."
Richard MacksonRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Colin Cowherd: While LaVar Ball was being criticized, the same people were celebrating a Frank Martin quote
"So Lonzo got beat up by Kentucky. Again, no great shame. Kentucky’s got the most talented backcourt in college basketball, regardless of if they made the Final Four. And people went crazy. ‘See! LaVar’s bad! Too much pressure! LaVar’s bad!’
We blanch, we cringe. Yet on the same weekend you don’t like the way LaVar Ball parents, there was a quote that was being passed around the internet that grew a full head of steam and everybody loved. Conservatives loved it, liberals loved it, young people loved it, old people loved it, coaches loved it, non-jocks loved it. Everybody loved this quote. Frank Martin, whose team made it to the Final Four, on putting pressure on kids."
Nelson ChenaultNelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Frank Martin: We're too easy on our children
“You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When i hear grown people say that kids have changed. We’ve changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We’re the ones that have changed.”
Colin Cowherd: People love what LaVar is doing in theory, but not in practice
“So what is it, folks? Do you love that quote, or what LaVar is doing? Because that quote *is* what LaVar is doing.
…. Frank Martin said we’re too soft on kids and you all loved it, but you’re uncomfortable with tough parenting by LaVar Ball, hyping by LaVar Ball, putting pressure on his kids.
The kind of pressure which unveils the truth. If you can’t handle dad, who the hell is guarding Andrew Wiggins? The reality is we want tough, successful kids. We really do, because we know they become, we’ve got a linear track here, tough adults.
… We have gone to babying everybody. So we love the words by Frank Martin. We love them and we retweet them. Liberals, conservatives, young, old, black, white… doesn’t matter. We all read that and loved it. But when we see it with LaVar Ball creating hype, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa!’"
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kenyon Martin: Let Lonzo be the focus instead of his father
“Lonzo Ball, he can play basketball. He’s a hell of a basketball player, right? J-Kidd-ish, kind of. Let that be the topic. Let that be what everybody’s talking about.Let his play speak for itself - and it’s not, right now. His dad is getting more attention than his son’s ability, which is unfortunate.
Don’t nobody need to know what you do for your kid at home or in the gym and all that. I’m in a similar situation. I have a 16-year-old son. My son is in the same class as his young boy LaMelo, Class of 2019. My son is pretty good. I post stuff here and there, I’m proud of my son. I’m a proud dad.
Do I think my son has a shot to make it to the NBA? Yes. But I do it in a way that it’s about him. It’s not about dad. I made it, I was successful. LaVar is in a different situation, he [didn’t] make it to the NBA. There’s enough pressure on my son already. I don’t have to come out and [say] ‘oh he’s great, he’s gonna be great, he’s gonna be great…’”
Justin FordJustin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Kenyon Martin: Lonzo Ball needs to be allowed to make his own name
“People ask me ‘would I send my son to the University of Cincinnati?’ I don’t think I would send my son to University of Cincinnati, because every day he walks into the gym, he has to see my name and my number in the rafters every day. He goes in the locker room and all my Player of the Year trophies are there.
That’s pressure for him to equal up to me, and I don’t want that for him. He’s making a name for himself. Lonzo Ball is making a name for himself. Let his basketball play be the topic, and not all the shenanigans and the hoopla.”