In a move that appeared to be simply a matter of when it would happen and not if, the Ball era of amateur basketball has ended.
Thanks for the memories.
Just days after pulling his middle son, LiAngelo Ball, out of his freshman season at UCLA, where he was serving a suspension after a shoplifting incident during the Bruins' trip to China earlier this season, Lavar Ball confirmed to ESPN that LiAngelo and the youngest Ball brother, LaMelo Ball, would both sign with eldest brother, Lonzo Ball's agent, Harrison Gaines, and seek a contract overseas.
With that move, my days of covering all that is the Ball family are done at Rivals.com.
This isn't to say that the Ball trio hasn't been one of the most interesting for me to cover during my career.
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I first saw Lonzo, who is now a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, prior to the start of his freshman season at Chino Hills (Calif.) High. It was obvious all the way back in the summer of 2012 that with his size, length and aptitude for passing the ball that he had the tools to one day develop into a star. Though the first few months of his NBA career haven't gone quite as well as hoped, Lonzo has lived up to the hype and has always been very humble and down to Earth in the way he goes about his business.
A three-star prospect in the class of 2017, LiAngelo never played a minute at UCLA and was simply not the same level of prospect as either Lonzo or his younger brother LaMelo. Prior to being pulled out of his junior year of high school, LaMelo looked to be on the path to becoming a legitimate five-star prospect of his own despite his unique style of play and shot-happy style that triggered off numerous debates.
Looking ahead, I don't know what type of contracts the Ball brothers can expect in Europe. In my mind, LiAngelo was best served as a mid-major power forward while LaMelo is a gifted talent but at 16 years old is still physically immature. I have to wonder exactly how prepared these two will be mentally and physically for the rigors of playing basketball on a daily basis with grown men in a foreign country. I also have to wonder how willing those grown men are going to be to accept the two teenagers and all that comes with them.
Seemingly, they at least have the millions that their older brother is making in the NBA and whatever income is being brought in by the family's shoe company the Big Baller Brand – which will soon feature signature shoes for all three brothers – to fall back on. Also, there is no question that each member of the Ball family has attained a level of fame that has turned them into the closest thing to the Kardashian sisters that I have ever seen in basketball.
I'm not here to take shots at anybody in the Ball family. It's not my place to tell Lavar how he should parent his children and as a father myself, I can't help but want to see another family's children succeed in whatever they do.
So, I wish the Ball family all the best and I'm sure there will be times down the road where I include them in articles looking at the past. But with Lonzo in the NBA, LiAngelo gone from UCLA and LaMelo no longer a high schooler, my time covering the Ball brothers has come to an end.
I've never seen anything like them before, and I'm betting that it will be a long time before I see anything like them ever again.