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Lonzo Ball and the $199 Autographs

February 14th, 2018 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers

Two things I believe about sports autographs.

1) No one past the age of 12 should ever ask for one. Adults don’t ask for the signatures of other adults — unless they plan to sell them on for more money, which is vile, and another good reason why adults should not ask for autographs.

And, 2) Athletes should never charge for autographs. Do them for free or don’t do them at all.

Don’t know if lots of adults will be clamoring to hand over $199 to Lonzo Ball for his autograph, but we do know Ball is charging stupid money for them, and that puts him in the “grasping loser” category of athletes inhabited by the likes of banned baseballer Pete Rose.

Lonzo Ball has signed a four-year contract with the Lakers for $33.4 million. But he still needs $199 per customer for an autograph?

The Lakers officially have Lonzo Ball issues, and this is just another aspect of it.

After most of a month of peace and quiet (outside of Lithuania, anyway), the P.T. Barnum of basketball fathers, LaVar Ball, is running his mouth and his schemes again.

Last month, he suggested, twice, that Luke Walton is unfit to coach the Lakers or, more specifically, Lonzo Ball.

That left the player on the edge of a knife, doomed to back either his father or his team — which is exactly what Lonzo Ball does not need. His ambivalent quote: “I’ll play for anybody.” Which certainly is not a ringing endorsement of his coach.

As last week’s trade deadline approached, and the Lakers were finagling ways to clear money under the salary cap for the pursuit of free-agent-to-be LeBron James this summer, several pundits noted the obvious:

It is impossible to imagine James joining a Lakers team with LaVar Ball smirking in the wings. Not after LaVar deeply angered James by suggesting LeBron’s kids will not be the player LeBron is.

Thus, if James goes to the Lakers, the Lakers probably will need to get rid of Lonzo — unless he makes clear he is his own man and not a mindless tool of his father — much as Kobe Bryant did some 20 years ago, when the young Kobe tired of his father forcing himself into his life. A rupture that lasted more than a decade.

It is not clear, however, that Lonzo Ball has the willpower to do the same. He has been drinking the LaVar Kool-aid for a long time, and right from the source, from the Ball Compound in Chino Hills.

Another query here: If the Big Baller brand of sports shoes and gear is such a smash success, why is Lonzo wringing $199 a head from silly people who perceive significance in a bit of scribble on a piece of paper?

And is all tacky and small and sleazy. But that is Brand Ball, and you can be part of it for only $199.


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