LaVar Ball’s remarks reflect the kind of mentality toward women in sports that still pervades many fans’ minds. He was saying women’s opinions in sports don’t matter.
One of the stars of this past college basketball season was UCLA’s Lonzo Ball who, as a freshman, helped lead his team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. He’s since declared for the NBA draft and is expected to go among the top 2 picks. With his success and entrance in the draft, his father, LaVar Ball, has tried to step into his spotlight. LaVar tried to create a brand around his son and did what he could to orchestrate a name for himself.
The main thing he did was create and market his company, Big Baller Brand. He’s marketing athletic gear on the back of his son’s success — but not without alienating basically everyone. For starters, the sneakers on his site are $495. If that seems outrageously high, it is. You won’t find a pair of Jordans on Nikes website more than $200.
While appearing on Fox Sports’ The Herd with Colin Cowherd, LaVar was confronted about the issue. Cowherd asked if he sold any and he said he sold “a good amount … to me”. When the show’s co-host Kristine Leahy asked how many, he told her, “stay in your lane.”
Luckily, Leahy didn’t let it slide. When she pressed him about it, he called her a “hater.” She responded by saying that if Big Baller wants to compete with the giants like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, women are important. “In order to have a successful company, I think you are going to have to have women that like your brand,” she said.
“Uh, yeah, if you have a women’s company. But we talking about Big Baller Brand,” Ball retorted.
Never mind for a moment that his company does indeed market to women (selling women’s t-shirts for $40 to $50). Ball was really making a statement that he did not respect or care about her opinion.
This is the kind of mentality toward women in sports that still pervades many fans’ minds. Some viewers reacted with disgust to LaVar’s comments, and yet others say that she attacked him and that she doesn’t like him. The simple fact is that he treated her with disrespect because she is a woman. And the truth is, the company has sold less than 400 pairs of shoes.
Another point to mention: her co-host, whose name is on the show, did not stand up at all — not for Leahy’s valid points, nor for the fact that his co-worker was being disrespected. In fact, as LaVar says tells her to “stay in your lane,” you can hear Cowherd laughing about it. I’m not sure what he found funny, but I hope it’s not outright sexism.
All in all, LaVar is a stain on society. Nike, Under Armour and Adidas have all passed on an endorsement deal with his son, Lonzo, who is expected to be a Los Angeles Laker. A star player on the most marketable team in the NBA? That’s a dream scenario for a shoe company. Hopefully, their decision to pass on him will be repeated by media companies giving him the platform to share his stupidity with the world.