LaVar Ball raised eyebrows earlier this year when he declared that his oldest son, UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, was already better than two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
But it all makes sense now that we know that Lonzo’s dad was so good he could have defeated Michael Jordan – a six-time NBA champion and five-time league MVP who is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time – in a game of one-on-one.
That’s what LaVar Ball told USA Today in an interview posted Monday.
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,” he said.
2.2 per-game scoring average for LaVar Ball when he was at Washington State in 1987-88
35 per-game scoring average for Michael Jordan for the Chicago Bulls in 1987-88
Ball is 49 years old, 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds. He played for Washington State in 1987-88, averaging 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds a game. As USA Today points out, Jordan averaged 35 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls that same season.
No matter, Ball said.
“I would just back (Jordan) in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left,” Ball said. “He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.”
He added: “Now in a game of five-on-five, (Jordan) might do some damage, but I’m going to do some damage too.’
Ball also tells of how then-Washington State football coach Dennis Erickson had him try out for tight end at spring practice. According to Ball, he didn’t make the team because he refused to block and demanded the ball twice every four downs.
“He said it don’t work that way, but you’d be a helluva tight end,” Ball said of Erickson, “and I said, ‘Nah, I’m good, man.’”
Erickson told USA Today he doesn’t recall Ball from back then.
Other nuggets from the interview:
▪ Ball plans on packaging all three of his sons – UCLA-bound Chino Hills stars LiAngelo and LaMelo are the other two – together for an enormous shoe deal from one of the major companies. “A billion dollars, it has to be there,” Ball said. “That’s our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don’t even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 mil over 10 years.”
▪ Lonzo and LiAngelo – the two Ball brothers who have driver’s licenses – each have their own $100,000 BMW, courtesy of their father. “To get my boys a little $100,000 car, that’s nothing,” said LaVar Ball, a personal trainer. “I don’t have to pay for education. I’m saving over 1 million dollars.”
▪ The elder Ball has a photographer and videographer following him and his boys around for a possible TV show.