Lavar Ball is a lot of things. Annoying is one. Polarizing is another. Somehow, someway, he consistently finds his way onto our newsfeeds. We all know the background. Three boys. LaMelo is in dire need of a haircut, Invisalign, and now a GED, Gelo means as much to Lavar as, and coincidentally has a similar makeup to, an actual bowl of Jello, and Lonzo has become the Keaton Jones of the NBA, with opposing point guards like Pat Beverly stuffing chunks of ham down his shirt and dumping milk over his head for the actions of his loud mouth parent.
Then Lavar declares he wants to start his own league, the Junior Basketball Association, and just when I thought he couldn’t possibly be any dumber (guy sent his LA suburb raised kids to Lithuania, remember that?), he goes and does something like this…
…AND TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF.
Lavar announced the idea of starting a league that would pay top rated high school recruits between $2,000 – $10,000 per month for an eight month schedule. This way, athletes didn’t have to be subjugated to playing athletics in a revenue sport under the sanction of the NCAA, the closest thing to modern day slavery we have here in America. Those are my words, not Lavar’s, although something tells me he would agree. Hell, South Park agrees with me, so you know I’m onto something.
How was the idea always sitting right there, but never brought to a meaningful existence? I know there are regional semi-pro basketball leagues all over the country, and maybe they just never got the right notoriety or never had the proper business plan. I can’t believe Jay Bilas didn’t get a team of investors together to start and run this league, then his “I gotta go to work” tweets would really be electric.
You’re telling me you wouldn’t rather this guy be the commissioner?! How did we screw this up?! Can we get Lavar to hire Jay?!
Whatever the reason for it’s late arrival, I am SO glad it is here. Even if this version of the league doesn’t come to fruition, based on the positive public reaction, I think another would.
Thanks to the voice and semi-transparency social media provides to athletes, the idea that life as a Division I student-athlete is glamorous has since been somewhat debunked, but in case you’re unfamiliar, I’ll give you a brief overview.
The NCAA has rules preserving an athlete’s amateur status. These rules make it so the institutions and the NCAA make billions of dollars on the backs of 18-23 year old kids. Even the coaches get a cut, looking at you, Jimbo Fisher.
Yes, we were given dorms and a meal plan, and it was great to swipe our ID cards for outrageously overpriced textbooks. However, if you don’t already have money, which half to three quarter’s of every locker room doesn’t, you are stuck with what you have. Pell Grants, which max out at around $5,600, are subjective. Not every student is eligible for that. Athletes need a little extra spending money. Have you ever seen a 6’8″ 235 lb power forward leave a cafeteria after a meal-plan sized meal with a satisfied look on his face? You absolutely have not.
“But his team-issued Jordan Brand jumpsuit is really nice!” Shut up.
Last point, it is impossible to have a job during season, so forget about a steady income, better make as much as you can in the summer. You get it, college athletes should get a cut of some money. How much? Let another nerd decide, a couple thousand would be a good start though.
So back to the JBA. It isn’t perfect. Lavar Ball’s version of this is already a little hacky, but you gotta start somewhere. I mean, the logo is clearly a silhouette of Lonzo, and the website background is a Laker color #2 jersey, just in case you forgot that his son is Lonzo and plays for the Lakers.
That’s not a league verified account, there isn’t one, at least not that I found, but that is the official logo. Sup Lonzo?
A Logo is problematic when the shot being portrayed only has a 35% chance of going in.
According to Vince McMahon 2.0, the league is set to start Summer 2018, which means that, in the course of one calendar year, a kid could go from wearing Lonzo on his chest to sitting at the cool table with the rest of the NBA PG’s filling Lonzo’s locker with manure and giving him swirlies.
Some benefits I like:
- Athletes can avoid the charade of taking classes for one year, a useless distraction from what is clearly their most advantageous professional career path. Learning how to live like an NBA player without the pressures and scrutiny that comes from a Rookie NBA season can help athletes mature at a healthier rate.
- Look back to your college days, and if you didn’t go to college, just imagine being 18 doing whatever you were doing. All the sudden, you strip all your current obligations and routines, get dumped a couple million dollars, and a lot of time to kill. Oh, fame and notoriety too. The smaller wages will help develop healthy financial habits.
- Playing with NBA Rules instead of NCAA rules. Nothing further needed there.
- Big Baller Brand actually becomes a thing. For now, the name is attached to the league, and as long as Lavar is involved, you bet your ass it will remain attached. I don’t want to seem like I’m rooting against a man’s livelihood, I just can’t believe that is the name. I swear, ever since the Jim Jones song had every white cheerleading squad nationwide doing two claps and saying “Baller” when their team made free throws, the term “Baller” has been retired. Calling somebody a “Big Baller” sounds like it would end in being forced to lick white dog shit by Mr. Gardocki and the Crew. I hate the name. Call it BallStuff, even that is better.
- What happens when the league gets a huge TV contract and all of the sudden the players are demanding more money and Lavar ends up making so much money he runs for President in 2024 and wins because aimless rambling is a proven winning democratic strategy, and then Barron Trump gets caught stealing golden wigs on a vacation in Turkey and President Ball won’t have him released until Trump has “Thank You” carved into the Moon. I’m sweating.
This league will hurt the NCAA, but screw ’em! NCAA Basketball will be equally as irrelevant during the regular season, and March Madness will still be a huge event. Not every single player will choose the JBA route, either. There is so much talent flowing out of high school these days, there will be plenty to go around. They’ll still make their billions.
I LOVE this idea, and not just because I can’t wait to see ‘Melo and Jello holding out to be the first package deal draft pick like they are 8 year old girls getting picked for kickball saying “we count as one pick” as they embrace in a hug while wearing matching Dale and Brennan tuxedo’s, but because if the whole thing flops, we are one step closer to Rock n Jock Basketball coming back.
I LOVE it because it genuinely gives the best rising basketball talent the most authentic experience to learn from before they are thrown into the gauntlet of the NBA.
So Lavar, when the boys inevitably get kidnapped by Gypsy’s and The Rock has to return them to their home soil, you may be thinking: “We’ve got no schools. We’ve got no teams. LONZO’S SHOT HAS FALLEN OFF”
But don’t panic, I’ll start you off with an idea to build from. Place a team someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen, birthplace of Tony Parker. You’re welcome.
God Bless the JBA.