MESA, Ariz. -- The father of the reigning National League MVP said on Tuesday he would tell LaVar Ball to keep quiet and let his sons play basketball instead of speaking out so much.
"The guy is going to ruin it for his kids," Kris Bryant's dad, Mike, said on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday. "I mean that in a sympathetic/empathetic way. Let his kids go out there and play and let the rest happen. But to compare him to Michael Jordan and better than Steph Curry, c'mon, that's disrespecting those guys. If I had five minutes with him and I could get him to listen for two of them I think I could get him to think a little bit."
The elder Bryant has a tendency to be outspoken but has learned to "pull back" when appropriate. Kris, a star for the Chicago Cubs, is the first player in baseball history to win college player of the year, minor league player of the year, Rookie of the Year and MVP -- and he did it in four consecutive seasons. UCLA star Lonzo Ball and his two younger brothers are talents but haven't achieved anything on the professional level just yet. Mike Bryant thinks the elder Ball will have a negative impact on his sons.
"How can you have fun when you're worried about your old man making a fool of himself," Bryant said. "There's ways to do it. I'm not trying to be judgmental. I feel for the kid in this situation. There are too many stories out there that don't turn out well because of stuff like this."
Bryant was asked what advice he might give to LaVar Ball.
"Just let your kid play and enjoy it," Bryant responded. "You have to enjoy it. If you sit back and zip it, don't run your mouth and watch him do what he does you will be amazed at how good he is. If you're too busy talking you're going to miss the moments."
Bryant stressed a saying Cubs manager Joe Maddon often uses: Don't let the pressure exceed the pleasure. He feels like Ball is putting too much pressure on his kids.
"The spotlight is on him and all for the wrong reasons," Mike Bryant said. "It's too bad. I wonder if it's a tragedy waiting to happen or if something good can come out of it.
"It makes my skin crawl. My wife would smack me upside the head if I acted like that."