- LaMelo Ball was drafted third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
- Ball was asked about the Jordan vs LaVar “debate” during his introductory news conference on Friday.
- LaMelo is the betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year award.
While LaMelo Ball did not get picked first overall in the 2020 NBA Draft as he had hoped ( and as LaVar expected), the Ball brothers still made history by becoming the first siblings in NBA history to be picked in the Top 3 in the NBA Draft.
LaMelo reacts to being drafted No. 3 by the Hornets ?#NBADraft pic.twitter.com/upg5ut553Y
— ESPN (@espn) November 19, 2020
You can see how excited LaMelo was and how disappointed LaVar looked. But who cares about LaVar’s salty reaction? It was Melo’s moment and it looked like he truly enjoyed it.
Now that LaMelo is a Hornet, he is an employee of Michael Jordan. MJ is of course, only the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets. He took control of the team in 2010 when he paid Bob Johnson $180M in cash and assumed the team’s debts. Although the Hornets are listed only as the 25th most valuable team in the league, it’s $1.5B valuation is 20% higher from what the team was worth a year ago. But that’s another story.
The LaVar vs Jordan “Debate”
Going back to LaMelo, the new member of the Hornets had his introductory news conference on Friday at the Hornets’ hive- the Spectrum Center. As expected, the press grilled him on the long-standing issue between LaVar and Michael Jordan.
Well, there’s really no comparison between the two but in 2017, LaVar stirred the pot when he told USA Today that he would “kill” Jordan in a one-one-one game in his prime. Of course, nobody believed him and no one still does. That statement didn’t deserve a reply, not especially from MJ but six months later, the GOAT gave his two-cents on the issue:
Michael Jordan responds to Lavar Ball saying he could beat MJ…
“I don’t think he could beat me if I was one-legged.”
The GOAT…. pic.twitter.com/w9MzDDvdfY
— Steven Barnhart (@HWHoopsCentral) August 1, 2017
That was three years ago. Now that LaMelo will be playing for MJ, reporters resurrected the topic and brought it up to Melo. Kid said he doesn’t think it will happen and with a smile, he gave his honest opinion on the “debate”:
LaMelo refused to elaborate but we all know what he meant. That was pretty obvious, and brutally honest. And for sure, big mouth LaVar won’t like it.
Not The First Time
But this wasn’t the first time that LaMelo’s spoken his own mind. When he chose to sign with Puma instead of his dad’s Big Baller Brand, that was the first sign that this kid wasn’t going to be manipulated by his control-freak father.
Here’s what LaMelo said when he signed his shoe deal:
LaMelo on signing with PUMA:
“I personally chose a different path to achieve my success because that defines who I am. I know some people think I am mysterious or ‘not from here,’ and I might have to agree. I am someone who likes to be different & consider myself to be 1 of 1.” pic.twitter.com/CSEBcdmSWg
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 14, 2020
Of course, LaVar was furious about that. Just take a look at the old man’s explosive reaction:
WATCH: LaVar Ball’s explosive reaction to LaMelo Ball signing with Puma https://t.co/N35ChZpx16
— Lonzo Wire (@LonzoWire) November 16, 2020
You have to like LaVar for insisting on going against the flow. He has many valid arguments and his concept is really good. He just doesn’t know how to execute it. As far as LaMelo is concerned, he’s proved off the court that he is his own boss and he wants to tread his own path to success. Inside the court, he still has a lot to prove although oddsmakers think he will succeed.
Rookie of the Year?
Could this guy be the first player ever to go from NBL Rookie of the Year to #NBA Rookie of the year? We sure hope so.
Your #NBL20 Rookie of the Year presented by @championaus, LaMelo Ball (@MELOD1P) #TheGazeys live on @ESPNAusNZ + @SBSOnDemand pic.twitter.com/bJntIGIF5Z
— The NBL (@NBL) February 16, 2020
LaMelo has been installed as the betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year award. As of 11/20/20, Melo is listed at +400 to win the award with the top two picks Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman coming in second at +500 each. Knicks’ draftee Obi Toppin is fourth in the current odds board at +700 while Detroit’s Killian Hayes completed the Top 5 at +800.
The current betting lines aren’t surprising. While Edwards, Wiseman, and Toppin have NCAA Division I basketball experience, Ball played professional basketball for the tough Australian NBL. In fact, he won Rookie of the Year honors in his only season with the Illawarra Hawks.
Edwards will play with two All-Stars in Minnesota as the Wolves already have Karl Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Wiseman will also play with a pair of All-Stars in Steph Curry and Draymond Green. However, LaMelo Ball will have the opportunity to blossom in a rebuilding Charlotte team that has plenty of young talent but no superstar. Given his potential, LaMelo truly has a chance to shine in Charlotte. Let’s just hope LaVar won’t spoil it.