It’s a lot to ask a 16-year-old to be professional.
But that’s the burden LaVar Ball put on son LaMelo when he took him to Lithuania.
After the Ball patriarch removed his sons from BC Vytautas and they returned to the States, LaMelo and LiAngelo’s teammates described the youngest Ball as “arrogant” and “lazy.”
We didn’t know how he’d come to be described this way — until the family broadcast it on their reality show.
In the Season 3 premiere of “Ball in the Family,” the Ball brothers’ teammates pranked LaMelo, posting side-by-side photos of fictional character Borat and an aged LaMelo in the locker room.
“It’s Melo after 30 years!” one of his teammates remarked.
(Skip ahead to the 16-minute mark.)
At first, it seemed LaMelo was taking the prank in stride.
But in an interview portion of the episode, the youngest Ball admitted he didn’t get along with his teammates.
“I think we should skip this question,” he said when asked if he liked his teammates.
“I’m just not meshing with the team right now,” he added. “I don’t feel the teammates support me or welcome me. They don’t like me.”
That might have had something to do with a revelation from earlier in the episode.
The team physiotherapist noted that LaMelo seemed out of energy (check the 10-minute mark; the teenager was lying on his back in the middle of the floor during a shootaround).
“He ain’t runnin’ out of no juice,” LaVar responded. “He knows he’s not gonna get to play. So that’s why he’s in that mode, like, ‘Whatever.’ … It sucks going into a game, knowing you’re not playing regardless how good you do in practice.”
Ahh, got it. He’s not lazy, he just refuses to work on his game unless he gets his way.
LaVar has worked tirelessly to damage the basketball career of his youngest son.
But broadcasting LaMelo’s poor work ethic to the world — and painting it as a justified reaction to getting no burn while playing horribly — might be a new low.