Almost 6,000 miles away from the Los Angeles Lakers‘ home, LaVar Ball riled up coaches, former players, an analysts when he all but called for the job of head coach Luke Walton.
One person not having it: Reggie Miller.
The former Indiana Pacers star and current TNT analyst wants Lakers president Magic Johnson to lay the smack down (figuratively, though I can’t say I would mind seeing the literal interpretation either) on LaVar for his distracting the team.
“This is a time for Magic Johnson, the greatest Laker, in my opinion, of all-time, and now has taken the helm back … this is a chance for Magic Johnson to absolutely put his foot down and put an end to this,” Miller said during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “He could really destroy LaVar if he really wanted to. I would go close to almost threatening, ‘If you keep opening your mouth … we are going to trade your son from the Lakers.'”
Then the five-time All-Star dropped the hammer.
“‘So it’s one of two things: Shut up, fall in line, let Luke do what he’s going to do and let Lonzo play how Lonzo wants to play or we’ll start taking calls.’ Magic Johnson, the Magic Johnson has to say that. Not Luke … This is a chance for Magic Johnson to be like ‘you’ve got to shut up dude.'”
Not that he needed defending, but Walton was backed up by fellow NBA coaches Rick Carlisle and Stan Van Gundy following Ball’s comments.
“I view the ESPN article as a disgrace, quite honestly,” Dallas Mavericks head coach Carlisle said this weekend. “Luke Walton is a terrific young coach who’s bringing along a young team. … Printing an article where the father of an NBA player has an opinion—that is printed as anything like legitimate—erodes the trust that we’ve built with ESPN.”
Van Gundy said he wouldn’t meet with the ESPN announcing crew ahead of his Detroit Pistons’ January 19 matchup with Washington Wizards because of they credence they’ve given Ball.
“I’m not meeting with their announcing crew before the game, I’m not doing the in-game interview,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not going to participate in the thing. … They want extra stuff from us and they’re going to treat an NBA coach with that little respect? Then I’m going to choose not to give them extra access.”