Bombastic sports dad LaVar Ball picked the wrong target for some of his bluster: Don’t go after Michael Jordan, particularly on the subject of one-on-one basketball.
Ball, father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, boasted he would have beaten Jordan - arguably the greatest player in NBA history - in Jordan’s prime.
A camper this week asked Jordan, who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, if Ball could beat him. Jordan let loose:
“I don’t think he could beat me if I was one-legged,” Jordan said during a question-and-answer session at one of his Flight School basketball camps in California.
That wasn’t all Jordan said of Ball.
“You got to understand the source,” Jordan said of Ball. “I think he played college (ball), maybe? He averaged 2.2 points a game. Really?”
Jordan was referring to Ball’s one season playing basketball for Washington State. Ball also played some minor-league football, plus practice-squad stints with the NFL New York Jets and Carolina Panthers (in the Panthers’ first season in 1995).
Jordan won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, five NBA MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals.
Ball has a gift for outrageous claims. During Lonzo’s one season at UCLA, Ball said his son was better than two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry. He upped the hype later, saying Lonzo was also better than LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
Last March, Ball was quoted as saying, “Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.”
Get in line, LaVar. Hornets rookie Malik Monk, an actual college star at Kentucky, has twice said he could beat Jordan one-on-one. Monk notes Jordan (54) is pretty old.
Old for Monk, maybe. Not for Ball, who turns 49 in October.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell