It's no simple feat, to snatch headlines during the height of March Madness despite not being a player, coach or even an analyst, but a parent.
It's even more impressive — or perhaps obnoxious, or maybe ignominious — when among those whose exploits you're overshadowing is your own son, a generational talent who is just a freshmen but already among the best players in college basketball.
But LaVar Ball is no ordinary sports dad. And even if you believe his eldest star son, it's getting hard not to cringe.
Between his own outsized bombast, his sons' outsized talent and the viral spread of spectacle on social media, we've never seen a dad quite like Ball in sports. But before we really get to LaVar, let's introduce the Ball boys.
*Takes a deep breath*
Lonzo is a freshman at UCLA. He's a uniquely skilled point guard who's projected to be a top-five pick in the NBA Draft in April. He's also the central reason the Bruins are back this season. LaVar's youngest son, LaMelo, is a high school sophomore who recently scored 92 points in a high school game — an astronomical sum that was partially overshadowed by the manner in which he racked up such gaudy stats. LaMelo is verbally committed to follow Lonzo and play collegiately at UCLA, as is LiAngelo Ball, LaVar's middle son and a high school senior who scored 72 points in a game this season.
You might think this abundance of success would have a parent content to beam proudly from the sideline. But it's LaVar who's stolen the show from his sons time and time again as the basketball season builds toward March Madness. Quote-hungry media can't resist him, and he seems to regard giving interviews as you or I would breathing air.
LaVar Ball kicked into overdrive a few weeks ago when he said Lonzo is already a better player than Steph Curry, the NBA's back-to-back defending MVP. The ridiculous claim was laughed off by media and handled with brilliant diplomacy by Curry.
Turns out LaVar was only getting started, though.
Also this season, he has:
Beefed through the media with NBA analyst and Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley.
Walked back comments that Lonzo would only play professionally for the Lakers.
Casually dissed Lonzo's UCLA teammates in an interview with TMZ.
Guaranteed a UCLA national championship win.
Credit LaVar for being proud of his sons, which he clearly is. Credit LaVar for being involved in their lives, which he clearly is.
But we're not done here — Ball the Elder saved perhaps his most ridiculous lines yet for Monday, one day after Lonzo's UCLA team was selected for the NCAA Tournament.
The interview this time is with USA Today's Josh Peter. Ball says his sons already drive $100,000 cars. He says he wants a shoe company to sign the entire family to a billion-dollar endorsement deal. He says plenty more, too, but the most incredible thing he says is this:
"Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one."
*Even longer record scratch*
Come on, man. You don't just say that. Especially not if you're somebody's dad. Peters handles the ensuing conversation brilliantly. From USA Today:
Lonzo and his UCLA squad are among the most entertaining teams in college basketball, with the Pac-12 Conference's player of the year powering a lethal fast break. The Bruins are the third seed in the West Region, opening the tournament Friday against Kent State.
Lonzo, for his part, shrugs off his dad's antics.
“My dad’s a funny guy," he told Bleacher Report last week. "People were coming up to me and saying, 'Are you embarrassed? Your dad said you’re going to win the championship.' No, I’m not embarrassed. I know how he’s going to act. I just go out there and play. Let him be him."
That's a mature and thoughtful answer from Lonzo. But the 19-year-old is answering a question that, watching from afar, you wish he didn't have to address at all.