by Ryan Hsu
As the buzzer signals the end of the game, a sixth-grade Lonzo Ball celebrates with his teammates as they grab a victory from their eighth grade opponents.
“In that moment, I knew Lonzo was going to be special. I have seen the boys win by a lot as well as lose by a lot. He and his family put so much effort into basketball: weights, running, skills and three-on-three in their backyard for hours,” said Kenneth Seto, teacher. He has lived next to the Ball Family for over 20 years.
“Lavar and Tina Ball (parents of the Ball family), moved into their house in 1995 at the same time my wife and I moved into our home. They just bought a new, huge home, and now we live next to his brother and family. Lavar asked me to be the announcer for the basketball games at Chino Hills High School for the past two years because the other announcer was getting their names confused. Their three sons are named Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, and with the fast-paced style of play, it was a challenge to announce,” said Seto.
The enormous success of the Ball family is no accident, according to Seto. Lavar has been planning it for them for a very long time.
“Every day, I mean every day, including birthdays and holidays, he made them work out. It would take hours. We must have thrown their ball back over the fence at least 200 times. Lavar waited for them to get home from school and had their workout planned for them. He brought energy and love to those boys,” said Seto, who greatly admires their work ethic.
The “Ball in the Family” reality TV show that recently aired, which is currently on Season Two, will continue as an ongoing project.
“There were many times the media was at their house, or they were filming a video for some project they were working on. At times, all of the parking near my home would be taken up and it could get loud at times. It was inconvenient, yet exciting,” said Seto.
The way Lavar Ball talks about his sons and his success is seen as naive by many.
“I wish people would know them like I do. I feel like there is so much negativity toward him and his family. Lavar did talk them up and set high expectations for them to reach, but that was his goal, and now they are on their way to making it happen. Please don’t forget Lonzo is a 20-year-old rookie who is still figuring things out, and eventually I believe he will be an All-Star. He is not a scorer like I think Laker fans were hoping for, but he will figure out a way to make his teammates better. He is not Kobe Bryant or Lebron James, but he is Lonzo, and I’m already proud of all he has done, and excited to see what he does in the future and for the Lakers,” Seto said.
Lavar Ball, with his Big Baller Brand, has risen to fame by instilling confidence and having high expectations for his sons and their success on and off the court.