LaVar Ball - the father of UCLA phenom Lonzo Ball and two other boys he believes will be "one and dones" - has very suddenly become one of the most polarizing figures in basketball.
Many players have already weighed in on Ball's boasts that his son Lonzo is already better than Steph Curry, but on Tuesday Ball received a terse message from LeBron James, who took issue with comments Ball made about his family during an interview with Chris Broussard.
On Wednesday's episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless broke down the feud between LeBron and LaVar.
LaVar Ball: LeBron James' children will struggle to match him
“Here’s the thing. You’ve got to play the odds and the percentages. There’s been a lot of great players, and all their sons are wack.
Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that. Why’s he such a monster?
So you look at, you’ve got LeBron. You’ve got LeBron. It’s going to be very hard for his kids to - because they’re not going to look at them as LeBron’s kids. They’re going to be like ‘you better be just like your dad.’
And then after a while that pressure starts sitting on you like ‘why do I have to be like him, why can’t I just be me?’"
Richard MacksonRichard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James: 'Keep my family out of this'
Shannon Sharpe: Why did LaVar Ball have to go here?
“You don’t get to control the question that someone asks you, but you do get to control the answer.If LaVar Ball wants to write checks that his kids have to cash - I don’t recommend it, but have at it.
… Why do you have to go here? Kids are off-limits. Even in the sleazy, grimy world of politics, kids are off-limits.
Don’t bring that man’s kids into this equation. We understand that, we understand the pressure. Because if you have an all-time great father… normally it skips. You look at it, there have been a lot of father-sons. Bobby Bonds was a very good player, but Barry took it to a whole other level. You look at Clay Matthews, you look at Bruce Matthews.’"
Steve MitchellUSA TODAY Sports
Shannon: LeBron's response was fully justified
“Why do you [say] ‘oh, these all-time great players, their kids be wack’? Well, I’m sorry that your kids have an easier path considering what you did in college. Obviously it’s going to be easier.
Don’t bring this man’s family, his kids into the equation. LeBron says ‘if you want to critique me, although you’re not an analyst, have at it. You want to talk about your brand? Have at it. But Bronny, Bryce, Zhuri and Savannah - don’t let those names come out of your mouth. And LeBron is absolutely right.”
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: LaVar Ball should continue to focus on his own family
“LaVar, if you want to talk about how great your sons are and are going to be, have at it. But I told you last week, Skip, this is where he and I parted ways, because he talked about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, ‘his son isn’t going to be this…’
Come on, bro. Nobody asked you all that. Keep the focus [and] talk about your kids… if that’s what you want to do, do that. But why do you have to bring other people’s kids into the equation? It’s unacceptable.
Now what he should do is say ‘LeBron, I didn’t mean any harm. I apologize.’ And just keep it moving. But I absolutely agree with LeBron, LeBron’s kids should have never came out of his mouth.”
Andrew WeberAndrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: LaVar Ball was dead-on right
“I had absolutely no issue with what LaVar said about LeBron’s kids.
… Now we’ve had two of the biggest names in basketball this side of Michael Jordan, and that would be Charles Barkley and LeBron James, fire back at LaVar Ball. They have fired back, and they put him even more on the map than he was.
I’ve never seen anything like what is happening now. Why would LeBron James have to take issue with some guy who averaged two points a game at Washington State? Why would Charles have to take issue with some guy who averaged two points a game at Washington State?
It’s not like Charles took a shot at LeBron’s kids, or Michael Jordan took a shot at LeBron’s kids, or Steph Curry took a shot at LeBron’s kids. Nope, it was LaVar Ball.
I believe he hit a nerve in LeBron because what he said was dead-on right.”
“It is going to be so difficult for LeBron’s kids to follow in his footsteps… LaVar has dramatically increased the pressure and the expectation on his kids, right? But nothing can compare to what’s going to happen to LeBron James Jr.”
David RichardDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: Ball is supporting his kids in his own way
“LaVar has kids, and his message is simply that ‘my career puts no pressure on my kids.’ Now his mouth is putting pressure on his kids, the expectations of his kids, because he’s supporting his kids full force. ‘My kid can be better than Steph Curry because he already is. And my kids have a chance. I’m telling them all I want them to be greater than Michael Jordan.
And I’ve told you, I admire that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that - because that’s a proud papa trying to be incredibly, positively supportive of his kids. And I think they are thriving on that kind of reinforcement, positive reinforcement.”