Lonzo was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 by the Los Angeles Lakers, and LaMelo was selected No. 3 overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020 draft on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
There are three Ball brothers in total. Lonzo is the oldest, LaMelo is the youngest and there is a middle brother, LiAngelo Ball.
Their father, LaVar Ball, is a polarizing figure who’s often been criticized for his outspoken demeanor, “meddlesome ways” and business propositions.
In 2017, for example, Nike executive George Raveling said LaVar was “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years” after LaVar sought a $1 billion shoe and apparel deal from the company for his three sons. He was also banned from ESPN for making what some deemed inappropriate comments to a host in 2019.
Love LaVar or hate him, some say even his critics can’t deny he deserves credit for helping his sons make history.
Mel Sims coached the Ball brothers at Chino Hills High School in Southern California, where their team went 35-0 and was ranked No. 1 in the country in the 2015-2016 season. He said LaVar was very intentional about guiding his sons to success.
“It is not an accident. LaVar dedicated his life to his boys, developing them,” Sims told USA Today. “One of the critical things is he had a hands-on attitude. He taught them what they needed to know and he put them under a physical conditioning program that allowed them to play with stronger, bigger players. He had a plan. Those things, I think, made a difference.’’
All three brothers committed to UCLA before going on to play professionally.
Before being drafted by the Hornets Wednesday, LaMelo played for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League in Australia. LiAngelo is currently with the NBA G League’s Oklahoma City Blue and Lonzo is with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Their mother Christina also played college basketball. It’s how she and LaVar met.
After LaMelo was drafted, LaVar tweeted two photos — one of him with his arms crossed and another of himself, Lonzo and LaMelo in a family embrace. He captioned it “I TOLD YOU SO!! Proud of you @MELOD1P.”
As for becoming a part of history, LaMelo tweeted “GODS PLAN” and said it was a “straight blessing” to be drafted by Michael Jordan’s team. He added that he felt he was fulfilling his destiny.
“I’m definitely excited. … I feel like it’s God’s plan,” LaMelo reiterated when speaking to reporters after the draft. “I just want to go out there and play basketball. I feel like I was born to do this.”