LeBron James has issued a stern warning to the father of a future opponent.
Last week LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, a projected top-three pick in the upcoming draft, posited that the sons of great NBA players don't become great players themselves because their parents aren't around.
"Let’s say I really excelled in football and made millions of millions of dollars. Do I spend that time with [my kids] now? No, I have to worry about the offseason and I just buy you a trainer and hope that you turn out okay," said Ball, whose two other signs have also committed to UCLA. "Whereas the fact that I wasn’t all that, allows me to take the time to make my boys all that.”
The outspoken father listed some greats: “There’s been a lot of great players, and all of their sons are whack. Kareem’s got sons, Jordan’s got sons, Shaq’s got sons.”
Then he mentioned LeBron and his sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce Maximus.
"You got LeBron, it’s gonna be so hard for his kids, cause they gonna look at them like ‘you gotta be just like your dad,'" Ball said. "And after a while that pressure starts sitting on you like ‘why do I gotta be like him, why can’t I just be me?’ And then they’re gonna be like ‘aw, you’re soft, you’re not that good.’ Because the expectation is very, very high.”
James responded on Tuesday, while his Cleveland Cavaliers were practicing on UCLA's campus.
"Keep my kids' name out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth," James said. "This is dad to dad. It's a problem now. … He can talk all about his brand, talk about his sons, talk about basketball, talk about me. But keep my family out of this."
LeBron Jr. already has scholarship offers from college basketball powerhouses Duke and Kentucky.
Despite his father's words, James was complimentary of Lonzo, a 6'6" point guard with elite passing and shooting skills to go along with good defensive potential.
"I actually like his son," James said. "I like his game."
So it would be a shame for him to have to vanquish Lonzo in front of his dad.