LaVar Ball’s prediction came true. LiAngelo Ball signed a two-way contract with the Detroit Pistons, joining both of his brothers in the NBA. The Charlotte Hornets selected LaMelo Ball with the #3 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft last month. Lonzo Ball, a former #2 pick with the LA Lakers, currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Everyone thought LaVar was crazy. The former NFL player wanted to raise three future NBA players, despite the harsh criticism from haters and skeptics. But the proud father now has three sons in the NBA, including two who were drafted in the Top 3.
“Proud!” tweeted LaVar Ball. “We’re just getting started.”
“Trust the process!” Lonzo tweeted from his account.
LiAngelo, 22, is the middle and shortest of the three Ball brothers at 6-foot-5. Lonzo is the oldest at 23, while LaMelo is the “baby” at 19.
LiAngelo signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Pistons known as Exhibit 10, which allows him to join the Pistons’ G League team, the Grand Rapids Drive, if he doesn’t make the Pistons roster. Tacko Fall signed a similar contract last year with the Boston Celtics after he went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft.
PROUD‼️ We’re just getting started. pic.twitter.com/WmcCOAsUot
— Lavar Ball (@Lavarbigballer) December 3, 2020
Redemption for LiAngelo?
LiAngelo Ball followed his brother Lonzo to UCLA and signed a letter of intent when he was still a sophomore. He joined the incoming freshman class of 2016-17. However, his tenure with the Bruins didn’t last long due to an incident overseas that had international political consequences.
UCLA was slated to play Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China, but the game was overshadowed by a shoplifting incident involving LiAngelo, who pilfered sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. Chinese authorities threatened to toss the UCLA players in prison for up to 10 years before US authorities stepped in.
UCLA suspended LiAngelo for the entire season. LaVar Ball pulled his son out of school. In just one NCAA game, LiAngelo scored 11 points versus Cal State.
LaMelo and LiAngelo played pro ball in Lithuania in 2018. The brothers signed with Prienai, where LiAngelo averaged 12.6 points per game, before leaving the team after suffering an ankle injury.
LiAngelo intended to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, but backed out when scouts informed the middle Ball brother he wouldn’t get drafted.
In March 2020, LiAngelo signed a practice player deal with the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G League team. He didn’t appear in any games or join the active roster because the G League and NBA were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Band of NBA Brothers
There’s no shortage of brothers playing in the NBA. Last season, the three Holiday brothers made history when they all played in the same game when the New Orleans Pelicans met the Indiana Pacers. Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans faced two of his brothers, Aaron and Justin, who were on the Pacers. That marked the first time in NBA history in which three brothers played simultaneously.
Walker Russell and his brothers, Campy and Frank, were another trio of brothers who logged minutes in the NBA in the 1970s and 1980s. Walker’s son, Walker Russell, Jr., also played in the NBA and the G League.
Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo has four brothers and three are hoopsters. Thanasis Antetokounmpo spent a stint with the Knicks and Bucks. Kostas Antetokounmpo spent time on the Lakers roster this season. Then there’s Alexis, who is just 19 and has yet to declare for the NBA Draft.