It looks like the relationship between the Ball family and the UCLA Basketball program is done forever.
As ESPN reports, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball — ages 16 and 19 respectively — just signed with the sports agent Harrison Gaines and will skip college to play overseas.
LiAngelo played for the storied UCLA Bruins until he was suspended for shoplifting in China last month. Afterwards, his dad LaVar Ball pulled him out of school completely.
The eldest brother Lonzo Ball played for the university as well, but just one year before he headed to the NBA to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The main reason for sending LaMelo and LiAngelo overseas is so they can be teammates, their dad explained.
“I don’t care about the money,” said LaVar. “I want them to go somewhere where they will play them together on the court at the same time. The priority is for the boys to play on the same team.”
In October, the 50-year-old father withdrew LaMelo from Chino Hills High School, and the original plan was to enroll him in UCLA in two years time.
“He’s not going to play college basketball,” said LaVar.
It seems getting his boys to play competitively again is another reason LaVar wants to send them overseas since LiAngelo was suspended from UCLA. Moreover, there’s a good chance that his stock would’ve fallen come NBA Draft time.
So far, there have been a few overseas teams that have expressed interest in the two younger Ball brothers but nothing has been confirmed yet.
“I don’t know the deals and who is offering what,” LaVar stated. “I’m letting Harrison handle all that, but I know there are a few teams interested. I just need to get them playing again.”
Plus, no matter what country LaMelo and LiAngelo will play in, their dad said he’ll be there with them periodically, as well as other family members.
“There will be three people with them all the time,” stated LaVar. “I’ll go back and forth and probably stay out there a while at first.”
Of course, it didn’t take long for people to chime in with their opinions about the Ball brother playing overseas and not going to school.
“How does it feel to know you’ve completely ruined your two youngest son’s chances of making it pro?” one person wrote on LaVar’s Instagram page.
“What was the whole point of Gelo and Melo getting scholarships to UCLA if you’re just pulling them right out?” another person asked. “You know how many people would die for a scholarship?”
Related news: LaVar Ball
Others, however, came to the father’s defense and compared him to Hollywood parents like Kris Kardashian. Some folks also told people to mind their business.
“What he does with his kids doesn’t concern you.” He’s helping Gelo,” wrote Instagram user Scott James Jr. “What he’s doing to Melo is questionable. How is that deflecting when you criticize this man for creating a different path for his kids like Hollywood parents do all the time.”
Between creating his own shoe and fashion brand, and sending his kids overseas instead of college, it’s clear that LaVar is taking unprecedented steps to get his boys to the NBA. So far, at least in Lonzo’s case, his plan has worked, despite some of the backlash.
But is what that Instagram user said correct? Did papa Ball just ruin his boy’s chances of getting to the NBA?
To get an answer we reached out to former ESPN employee, Sports Anchor and reporter Derwin Worrell, who said things may be challenging for the Balls, but they still have a good chance of making it in the U.S.
“They can still get to the NBA without going to college,” Worrell told Atlantic Black Star. “They will have less exposure by playing overseas. But some NBA teams have great scouts overseas, so if they can really play, they will get noticed and because of the Ball name, NBA teams will definitely be watching.”
Basketball fans and other folks familiar with the Balls will surely be watching too, just to see if LaVar’s master plan of sending his kids overseas will work out.
Wonder if Lavar Ball ever stopped and asked his kids “what do you want to do?”
— Rod Bridgers (@rod_bridgers) December 7, 2017
LaVar Ball reminds me of the little league Dad who coaches his kid and thinks the kid is way better than he really is. #TheBalls
— Tony Patelis (@CollegeHoopNews) December 7, 2017
The NCAA is garbage, Lavar Ball is right, and in 20 years he’ll be seen as a prophet. Don’t you @ me either.
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) December 6, 2017
If people think Lavar Ball is sending his kids overseas just because of basketball y’all crazy, this is a smart man, he just want to promote the BBB brand, that man not stupid y’all better put some respect on his name, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BAG 💼💯💯💯@bigballerbrand
— Coach Twin (@twintowers504) December 7, 2017
Lavar Ball out here turning the tables 😂😂😂😂😂😂
— 8Eye™ (@JaimeBoyer) December 7, 2017
Lavar Ball is the Kris Jenner of basketball.
— rae-rae ♍️ (@ThatsSoRavii) December 7, 2017
Lavar ball one of the goats
— Davir Hamilton (@EspnHam9) December 7, 2017
Thank you Lavar Ball for pulling your sons out of the US basketball systems now they can be Europe’s problem
— chris.barry (@beardog40) December 7, 2017
Lavar Ball is absolutely tanking the futures of his sons and I’m already getting excited for how depressing the 30 for 30 is go to be
— Matt Kulka (@kulkanator) December 7, 2017
I need LaVar Ball to succeed, man. I need them to become mega millionaires. Like I need this to happen.
— Mel Blunt (@KNGSHxT) December 7, 2017