By: Nestor “Yung Nes” Torrez
It’s no question the Ball Brothers are one of the more recognizable basketball family in recent years. The Ball Family, better known as Lavar Ball’s family is one of the most popular NBA families. It consists of Lonzo Ball, his daughter Zoey Ball, his parents LaVar and Tina Ball, and his brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. They have their own reality television show “Ball In The Family” as well. Let’s start off with the oldest of the bunch Lonzo. Lonzo Anderson Ball was born on October 27, 1997. He played college basketball for one season with the UCLA Bruins, and was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers as the second overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft. As a high school senior at Chino Hills High School in 2016, Ball was awarded multiple national high school player of the year honors, and led his team, alongside his brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo, who are both current NBA guards, to an undefeated record, racking up a national championship in the process. As a college freshman in 2016–17, he led the NATION in assists and broke the UCLA record for the most assists in a season! Very impressive if you ask me.
Now as a NBA rookie with the Los Angels Lakers, his playing time was limited by shoulder and knee injuries, unfortunately he was sidelined for much of his second season after an ankle injury. His jump shot was also very criticized at the time. Ball used to have an unorthodox jump shot where he’d move the ball from his left hip to the left of his forehead. He kind of rotates his right elbow in toward his chest until it reaches a 45-degree angle, when he shoots the ball towards the basket. He prefers to shoot jumpers while moving towards his left. Fortunately, during the 2019-2020 off-season, videos of Ball’s new shooting form emerged. He is now shooting into a more conventional form with the ball squared up to his forehead. Which suits him way better if you ask me.
In the second game of the season, Lonzo scored a career-high 29 points, to go along with 11 rebounds and 9 assists in a 132–130 win against the Phoenix Suns, falling one assist shy of becoming the youngest player to notch a triple double in NBA history. In the following game, he had eight points, eight rebounds, and 13 assists in a 119–112 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to get at least 10 assists in a game. On November 11, he recorded 19 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds in a 98–90 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the youngest player at the time to achieve a triple-double at the age of 20 years and 15 days old, breaking Lebron James’ record by five days! He ended the season with averages of 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds, but made only 36 percent of his field goals. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, while fellow rookie teammate Kyle Kuzma exceeded expectations and earned first-team honors. Which lowkey had some heat at the time. Eventually, Zo was traded at the end of the season to the Pelicans in a trade package for future NBA Champion Anthony Davis. Ball debuted for the Pelicans on October 22, registering eight points, five rebounds and five assists in a 130–122 overtime loss to the defending champion Toronto Raptors. On December 29, he hit a career-high seven three-pointers, and scored a season-high 27 points, to go with 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a 127–112 win over James Harden and the Houston Rockets. On January 18, 2020, Ball recorded his first triple-double of the season with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 133–130 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Other than that. Lonzo Ball has a bright future ahead of him.
Now to LaMelo Ball. LaMelo LaFrance Ball was born on August 22, 2001. Ball began high school at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California, where he won a state championship of course with his two other brothers. Before his junior season, a coaching dispute prompted him to leave Chino Hills and sign with Lithuanian professional team Prienai. Ball was trained in basketball by his father, LaVar Ball, as soon as he could walk. At only age four, he started playing the sport with his older brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo, facing much older opponents! Ball verbally committed to play college basketball for UCLA following his brothers footsteps at age 13, before starting high school, becoming the third of his brothers to commit to the school. Ball, who was also recruited by Virginia and Washington State at the time, said that UCLA was his “dream school.” He emerged as a top recruit in the 2019 class during his sophomore season in high school. Most recruiting services considered him a five-star recruit and one of the top point guards in his class. When Ball returned to high school after a professional stint in 2018, he remained a five-star recruit in the process. The 2017 release of Ball’s Melo Ball 1 signature shoe by Big Baller Brand, his family’s sports apparel company, threatened his eligibility under the National Collegiate Athletic Association, also known as NCAA. Ball’s father Lavar Ball. He ignored the concerns and considered having his son skip college for that reason. Ball’s signing of an agent and his professional experience further imperiled his NCAA eligibility. Despite questions surrounding his eligibility, which discouraged major NCAA Division I programs from recruiting him, he made it clear that he’d be interest in playing college basketball upon his return to high school in November 2018. In the following months, however, Ball explored alternative options, including prep school, the NBA G League and professional leagues in Australia and China. Doing good in all three. In the days leading up to the 2020 NBA draft, Ball was considered a possible top overall pick In the NBA draft, which was held on November 18, 2020. Ball was eventually selected with the third overall pick by the Eastern Conference Charlotte Hornets. With his third overall selection by the Hornets in the NBA draft, he and his brother, Lonzo, became the first set of brothers to both be drafted in the top 3 of the NBA draft. Time will tell what Melo will do!
Finally, the middle child LiAngelo Ball. LiAngelo Robert Ball was born on November 24, 1998. Ball of course played for Chino Hills High School in California, where he won a state championship. In his childhood, Ball often played basketball against older opponents, as did Melo. He would often find himself facing off against teams of fourth and fifth-graders while in kindergarten. He started working out and training by age four and first competed with both of his brothers, Lonzo and LaMelo, at age six. Ball was a consensus three-star recruit. 247Sports.com ranked him outside of their top-200 recruits nationally and as the 50th best shooting guard in his class. Having already committed to play for the UCLA Bruins as a high school sophomore, Ball signed a letter of intent on November 2, 2016, and enrolled at the University of California, in Los Angeles. He was projected to be a reserve for during his 2017–18 freshman season for UCLA. He played his only game with the Bruins in the preseason game against a NCAA Division II team Cal State Los Angeles, scoring only 11 points.
On November 7, 2017, days before UCLA’s regular season opener against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China, unfortunately Ball and two other freshman teammates were arrested in Hangzhou for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near their team hotel! The trio potentially faced a fine and three to ten years in prison but were soon released from custody. Thanks to Donald Trump out of all people! Ball was suspended indefinitely from the UCLA basketball program. On December 4, he announced that he planned to withdraw from UCLA; his father LaVar Ball had grown frustrated over the length of the suspension. Which I totally understand. Now had Ball stayed at UCLA, he would have remained suspended for the rest of the season.
On December 11, 2017, he signed with Prienai of the Lithuanian Basketball League along with his younger brother LaMelo. He had a brief stint with a G-League team named the Oklahoma City Blue for a few years. In December 2020, Ball was signed to a training camp contract by the Detroit Pistons. That being said. All, three Ball Brothers are finally in the NBA. If you count there father Lavar Ball. That makes everyone of the family members played in the league at one point. Weather you like the Ball Family or not. It’s pretty impressive to see what they have accomplished in so little. Big Baller Brand.