The Lakers: Lebron is out. Rondo is out. The playoff race is in full force, and now the Lakers must forge ahead without Lonzo Ball.
Lonzo was doing well in the game again the Houston Rockets with 8 points, 11 assists, a steal, and a block. They were 20 points ahead. Then, the unthinkable happened: yet another injury for Lonzo Ball. Then Harden went on one of his hot streaks, forcing overtime, and eventually winning the game for the Rockets.
So for Lonzo, the prognosis isn’t great. Suffering from a Grade 3 ankle sprain, he has been given a timetable of missing 4-6 weeks of playing time. But, if you take into account recent Grade 3 sprain timetables versus actual recovery, it may be longer.
Last season, both Reggie Jackson (of the Detroit Pistons) and Matthew Dellavedova (last season of the Milwaukee Bucks) were given timetables that they both exceeded. Neither of them required surgery, like Ball, but they were out of play far longer than predicted. Dellavedova, given a 4-week timetable, missed 9 weeks and 29 games. Jackson, given a 6-week timetable, missed 12 weeks and 37 games.
Then came the loss against the Golden State Warriors.
Yesterday, even with the return of Rondo, the Lakers suffered yet another loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both are playoff contenders. With Lebron, Rondo, and Ball out of commission, Minnesota took the game 120-105.
There have been rumors of trades. Who knows what will happen. Though I told LaVar once that he spoke things into existence, I have found nothing in this life is guaranteed, particularly when intentions are riddled with the quest for power.
Turn to Melo Ball.
Recently, Melo Ball has returned to American high school basketball for his senior year at Spire Institute in Ohio. Spire was slated to participate in the prestigious Hoophall Classic mid-January but dropped out when an appearance fee was requested for Melo of $10,000. Spire believed this was requested by “consultant” Alan Foster, Big Baller Brand manager and a prominent character in Ball in the Family. Foster gave no comment.
This is partly why I wrote We Ballin’. It is simply a dramatic story, and it continues to be so. It tells the tale of what happens with the intoxication of money and power. It tells the tale of hard work and disappointment, of fame and fortune, and of endless greed. So, Melo, probably the least culpable of anyone in this situation, must sit out another great tournament because his abilities are being marketed for money.
Lately, I’ve been watching Ball in the Family. I know, I know, old news. But it’s one of the only ways that I can truly assess what is happening within the family I was once so close to. LaVar’s actions continue to surprise and dismay me, but my affection for him hasn’t changed. In one episode after Melo engages in a fight, LaVar gives him a harsh talking to, saying after, “Sometimes a lot of these youngsters, they don’t listen to what you say. They listen to how you say it. So, I try to make him cry.” He went on to explain that if he cried, that would make him “weak.” But Melo “took it,” so LaVar termed him “cold,” and all was well between them.
What is this saying? This reinforcement of tough-guy as man stereotype isn’t helping anyone, least of all Melo. But that is my personal belief. Maybe I am completely wrong. With a grandchild in the mix now (Denise, Zo’s ex-girlfriend, figuring prominently in Ball drama), and Tina finally receiving physical therapy from someone other than LaVar and her family, I just wonder about what my old friend LaVar is thinking. Where is he headed? Does he have big dreams, as he says, about partnering with Kanye West? Will that take him far enough? Fulfill his ambitions?
Probably not. This train isn’t stopping anytime soon.