Outspoken basketball dad LaVar Ball has divided the public over why he thinks the UCLA Bruins lost in the NCAA Tournament to Kentucky in March: White players simply aren’t quick enough.
Ball seemed to blame UCLA’s 86-75 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet 16 Friday, March 24 on TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Thomas Welsh — three white starters for the Bruins.
“Realistically, you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” LaVar Ball, a former World League of American Football player who is the father of senior UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Thursday, April 6, “I told Lonzo, ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”
Leaf, Alford, and Welsh combined for 39 points as Lonzo Ball wrapped his college basketball career with 10 points, all while opposing Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox racked up 39 points.
LaVar Ball had predicted the Bruins would win the game.
“People thought [Lonzo Ball] was giving up, but he popped his hamstring,” LaVar Ball said. “He said, ‘I was trying to run, but my hamstring was pulled.’ But he’s never going to make excuses.”
Social media users were particularly upset by LaVar Ball’s comments about the white players.
Lavar Ball is treading into dangerous waters with his race talks. Imagine if the father of a white player said "can't win a/ 3 black guys"?
— Noah Fence (@el_budget) April 7, 2017
— Jimmie Alston (@alston_jimmie) April 7, 2017
Dear White People,
We the African Americans dont claim #LavarBall as one of our own. Please accept him as our gift.
The Black People
— 8-Ball⚫ (@CartoonManGoins) April 7, 2017
De'Aaron Fox puts 39 on Ball, and LaVar has the audacity to say that they lost because of "white guys." Media, stop interviewing this loser.
— Head vs. Gut (@headvgut) April 7, 2017
Lavar Ball, "U won't win a championship w/ 3 white boys on the floor, their feet too slow" Racism goes both ways, but nothing will be said
— Christian Smith (@CSmith_412) April 7, 2017
So LaVar Ball can blame 3 white guys for UCLA's loss but not his son giving up 39 points to the opposing point guard while scoring 10?
— Nate Dartmann™ (@Nate_Dartmann) April 7, 2017
When LaVar Ball says UCLA lost because of "white guys" and his son is half-white… ? pic.twitter.com/JsoyUznssZ
— Kris Vossmer (@kvossmer) April 7, 2017
Lavar Ball is really blaming 3 white guys for UCLA's loss. If a white man said this about 3 black guys, the world as we know it, would end
— Logan (@SiebertLogan) April 7, 2017
Others defended his remarks and made fun of the uproar that mostly came from white fans.
Lavar Ball: white ppl suck at hoops
White people: pic.twitter.com/Fusi5GN5x9
— T-Rex Tillerson (@ShoodTheDude) April 7, 2017
LaVar Ball is at home laughing at all these white ppl in sports media who don't have enough black cultural capital to know his type.
— Kiana C. (@kaymariephd) April 7, 2017
I am amazed at how ppl stay mad at this dude. Also, ppl have built pop culture careers laughing at unathletic white guys. Now yall mad? ?
— Kiana C. (@kaymariephd) April 7, 2017
Let's be honest, Lavar Ball ain't wrong. White people are slow. That's not racist. That's science ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Ryan Ross (@ryrytheflyguyy) April 7, 2017
— MorethanA$&ADream (@Family_Dr3ams) April 7, 2017
I agree with #lavarball, it is tough to "win with three white guys." Particularly when the star gets abused on D/has more TO'ers than FG's
— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) April 7, 2017
#LavarBall is not wrong tho. everyexample on twitter is the dreamteam. can any1 show the last championshipteam 2 win wit 3 white starters??
— Malcolm & Rubi (@ACoupleOnACouch) April 7, 2017
Lavar Ball said white people are slow on their feet… I mean he's not wrong but c'mon man you don't need to rub it in our face
— Boone (@DaltonKorte1) April 7, 2017
SportsCenter’s Jemele Hill didn’t agree with Lavar Ball, but she slammed the rush of others to get comments from Black people on the matter.
What he said was so obviously dumb, but you just want the gotcha theatre of black-on-black criticism. Whatever gets your rocks off. https://t.co/19phLj2Fh1
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) April 7, 2017