So with Lonzo Ball now a prized rookie with the Lakers — albeit one struggling badly to make shots — and with Los Angeles set to host the Warriors on Wednesday, it only made sense to revisit those boasts with his father. However, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke barely had time to begin asking LaVar Ball about his current Lonzo/Steph thoughts before the outspoken patriarch gave his answer.
“You ain’t even got to ask me that question. Until I die, I will always think that my son is better than Steph Curry,” Ball exclaimed. “Always!”
“I trained my son. I know what he’s about,” Ball said. “You guys know what Steph is about from what you’ve seen. I don’t know what Steph is about.”
“He’s a good player,” Ball graciously acknowledged, prompting Burke to point out, “He’s a two-time MVP.”
“He can be a 10-time MVP. I still don’t think he’s better than my son,” Ball said.
Say one thing for Ball: He has never lacked confidence, either in his children or his ability to make brash pronouncements. In fairness, his oft-stated prediction that his beloved Lakers would draft Lonzo did, in fact, come to pass, so he has some justification for thinking he can take an improbable concept and, as he has put it, “speak it into existence.”
And guess what? For one night, anyway, Lonzo Ball was better than Curry, if only in the Warriors star’s calling-card category, three-point shooting. Ball hit 3 of 7 from behind the arc, while Curry hit just 3 of 9. In addition, Ball was credited with 10 assists and just two turnovers, while Curry had seven assists and five turnovers.
Advantage, Big Baller Brand! Then again, Curry hit 9 of 20 shots overall (to Ball’s 5 of 12), scored 28 points to Ball’s 15 and was a plus-4 in his time on the court to Ball’s minus-8. Oh yeah, and Curry’s team won in overtime, 127-123, despite an injury to his shooting hand that he suffered in a game Saturday.
As Wednesday’s game drew near, Curry had said he could “relate” to Ball’s difficulties, both as an NBA rookie and as someone struggling with expectations created by a well-known father. In Curry’s case, it wasn’t so much his father’s words but his deeds, as Dell Curry was a longtime NBA player renowned for his own shooting prowess.
“Early in my sophomore and junior years in high school, there was a little extra pressure because of who my dad was,” Curry told ESPN’s Chris Haynes, “and I felt like everybody was kind of critiquing my every move on the court. … But at the end of the day, I taught myself how to have a sense of humor about it and understand that it kind of comes with the territory of choosing the same sport that my pops played, and dealing with it that way. [Lonzo] can’t let what people say bother him. Use it as motivation.”
As for LaVar Ball’s repeated words about his son being superior to Curry, the latter said, “I know what his pop said, but I want to be respectful. At the end of the day, if my pop said something crazy, I would have to kind of think about it a certain type of way, but I don’t know what I would do or how I’d react to it. I’m very sensitive to talking about someone’s family. I don’t want to disrespect anybody.
“His pop has a mic on him at all times, and so he says some things. I’ll leave it at that.”
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