I have to confess something: I watch "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." I don't always watch it, but when I am flipping channels, I am drawn to it, much like I am drawn to watch a car crash on the highway as I pass by. I don't watch it for the substance, because there is none. I watch it for the spectacle.
I have another confession. I enjoyed many of the antics of LaVar Ball, and from the beginning, I likened him to a carnival barker, snake oil salesman and basketball Kardashian who is taking advantage of the undeniable talents of his children to elevate himself into the spotlight and make the most of an undiscerning public that will be mesmerized by any shiny object.
Like a Kardashian, one is left wondering what are LaVar's attention-grabbing talents. To my eye, he has none (other than parenting a couple of talented basketball players and nice young men). His "talent," if you wish to stretch the word, is his shamelessness in saying the outrageous, the outlandish and the demonstrably untrue. He was of little consequence as an athlete himself. I do not know of any major accomplishments in any area of business or entrepreneurship (outside of his Big Baller Brand, built off the talent of Lonzo, his oldest son) worthy of public recognition. Nor do I know of any skill he has demonstrated as a youth coach.
At first, I knew him as a sometimes entertaining mouth with little fiber behind his words. He made me laugh, and I enjoyed the banter. I laughed when he said he could beat Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley after averaging two points per game and shooting 40 percent from the field and 40 percent from the foul line at Washington State.
I was impressed by Lonzo, his oldest son, during his time at UCLA. I remain impressed by Lonzo. He is a nice and respectful young man who seems to understand the balance between confidence in his abilities and respect for his teammates' and competitors' confidence in theirs. I enjoyed LaVar as a more clownish version of Earl Woods (Tiger Woods' late father) or Richard Williams (father to Venus and Serena), but one who was smart and calculating. I thought LaVar was playing us all like his own Big Baller Brand Stradivarius.
He was fun to watch. And fun to laugh at. And laugh with. I thought he was in on the joke.
But to whatever extent I enjoyed LaVar Ball and his antics at first, I now find him close to intolerable. Instead of being in on the joke, he has become a joke, and it is no longer funny. He started to lose me when he publicly complained about his son's high school coach, who was ultimately out of his job. Then, he told Fox Sports' Kristine Leahy to "stay in her lane," which I found to be disrespectful and unnecessary to the point of being misogynistic. Then, he started to show himself through his participation as a "grassroots" summer basketball coach. He is needlessly profane and his conduct is out of control with officials and he's not worthy of being in charge of the development of young players.
He has been ejected from a game in which he had the chutzpah to demand a game official be removed. That the official was removed is also on the organizers of the event, but LaVar Ball is equally to blame, in my view. I mean, who does that? Every time a coach or player steps onto the court, he or she accepts a social contract. The officials, right or wrong in their calls, are the law of the court. Period. Yet Ball insisted that an official be removed, then crowed about it afterward.
But after the official was removed, Ball received a technical foul from the replacement official and was ejected. Then, the game was forfeited when Ball refused to leave the court. That is the second time this summer that Ball's team did not complete a game it had started.
Wait, there's more. Ball essentially bragged after the game about getting an official removed, an egregious act he should be embarrassed about. The removed official is a female college referee, and Ball had the audacity to claim that this woman, like Kristine Leahy, should "stay in her lane." Well, exactly what lane is that? The female official was in her lane. She was officiating a basketball game until she was relieved of that duty by the event organizer, at the demand of LaVar Ball.
Well, LaVar Ball lost me on that one. Not that he cares or should care, but I am done with him. I am done listening to him, consuming his nonsense or caring what he has to say. If he apologizes to the women he has insulted and changes his bizarre behavior, I can certainly change my mind. But absent that, I will no longer laugh at the behavior of LaVar Ball, nor will I participate in the coverage of his prattle and hot air. It is not worthy of our coverage and not at all funny anymore.
I was wrong about LaVar Ball. He is not a Kardashian. That is far too kind. He is a misogynistic buffoon unworthy of my time.