Dear Lakers…

Please don’t draft Lonzo Ball.

Thirteen years ago, Eli Manning famously declared he would not play for the San Diego Chargers who held the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and wanted to take the Ole Miss quarterback as heir apparent to Drew Brees.

Manning’s father Archie, himself a former NFL quarterback, chimed in that his son would be a perfect fit for the New York Giants, who were looking for their own franchise quarterback that April.

San Diego ignored the Manning’s request and took Eli first overall. So began draft day drama.

Manning was traded later that night to the Giants for quarterback Philip Rivers (who the Giants took fourth overall), a third round pick in the same draft (kicker Nate Kaeding) and a first rounder (linebacker Shawne Merriman) and fifth rounder (which was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for offensive lineman Roman Oben) in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Thirteen years later we have come full circle, and it’s become ten times worse.

Lonzo Ball is without a doubt a very talented basketball star. But whichever team takes him tonight will also be asked to carry the baggage that is his father LaVar.

Lonzo only scheduled one workout (with the Lakers) and his father stated his son, “would only play for the Lakers,” before  quickly walking back those comments.

He talked up his son’s Big Baller shoe line, and said the cost of a pair of ZO2’s was $495, and that the shoe, “means something.”

It means LaVar Ball’s out of his mind.

Like it or not, the grestest player in the NBA right now is LeBron James; and the most expensive pair of his Nike shoes retail for only $220.

So the fact LaVar Ball thinks his son’s shoes are worth twice and more of a pair of LeBron’s goes to show why the Lakers need to pass on his son. 

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off two of their worst seasons in franchise history. They just traded away their first round pick from two years ago in D’Angelo Russell. This team is trying to find itself and get back to the championsip Lakers tradition that doesn’t have them finishing near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Adding the headache of Lonzo Ball and his father will only keep the team where it is for the foreseeable future. Remember how I told you all a week ago the Cavs lost in the NBA Finals this year because one man does not a championship team make.

You can be sure Lonzo and LaVar will be out for two people, themselves.

Not the Los Angeles Lakers, and certainly not their fans.

Most people don’t know this, but LaVar Ball was a washout NFL player who never made the sidelines of a regular season game. He was also a washout college basketball player at Washington State who transferred his senior season to Cal State-Los Angeles. 

He’s said his son is better than LeBron (4x MVP), Steph Curry (2x reigning MVP) and Russell Westbrook. He mouthed off that he would have taken out Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one in his college days. 

He’s garnered criticism ranging from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to NBA Hall of Famers, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.

When asked about the cost of the ZO2, LaVar Ball said, “If you can’t afford a pair of ZO2’s, you’re not a Big Baller!” – referencing the line that makes the shoes.

Having lived in Los Angeles for the last ten months, I can tell you there are a lot of people in the city Mr. Ball wants his son to play in who can’t afford his son’s shoes. Los Angeles County alone is home to over 250,000 homeless, a jump of 23% in the last two years.

Walking from my apartment up South Figueroa Street on my way to Staples Center, I would pass upwards of a dozen or more homeless Angelinos walking down the street with shopping carts full of tin cans and bottles, or camped under the 110 overpass, unsure of where their next meal would come from.

Over 60,000 of those homeless Angelinos are children.

Athletes like Lonzo Ball are supposed to inspire hope in children that while they may be homeless today, eventually their future can be brighter and someone out there cares about them. Instead, the Ball’s seem more interested in shaming anyone who can’t afford their ridiculous shoe cost.

Honestly the fault for all this lies primarily with LaVar Ball, who is acting as a helicopter parent trying to make up for his lost dreams by living vicariously through his superstar son. Because he failed to crack the pros in his “heyday,” LaVar Ball id treating his son’s forthcoming career like its his own. An entitlement to a dream lost decades ago. However, this is Lonzo’s dream, not LaVar’s.

So tonight, do me a favor Lakers, and don’t draft Lonzo Ball. I know it will be hard, but trust me, you will be better for it in the years to come.

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