Monday, July 31, 2017
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"With the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft the Los Angeles Lakers select...Lonzo Ball from the University of Southern California". This is it. Pandemonium to the podium. You know what it is. It's everything father Lavar guaranteed it would be as he bragged about his big three family of LaMelo, LiAngelo and Lonzo Ball being the greatest like some sort of Ali. But hows this for a first round knockout? In a draft watched by everyone from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on tour (with Flea armed with a purple and gold Lakers bass), to Jack Nicholson in his Hollywood home, the Lakers selected Los Angeles native Lonzo with their number 2 lottery ball pick from U.C.L.A. Just like everyone with a B.B.B. on their shirt and tie wanted. K.O. Now the only way the Lakers could top this is if they nabbed top L.A. born free agents Paul George (who wants to play in purple and gold) and Russell Westbrook (also a U.C.L.A. alumnus) from the Oklahoma City Thunder next summer for their new Purple reign. Or even the King for some 'BronBall' top trending for the new superstar team generation. Big Baller and Laker nation stand up. This is just like it was all meant to be. Or just like he told you so. Sure Lonzo might not have gone first. Or have the same jersey number as Brooklyn traded D'Angelo Russell, but he is the one. And just like the last Laker to wear number 2 on his chest, this number 2 pick, but first choice is looking for numbers that carry more weight. As just like Derek Fisher, Lonzo Ball knows it's all about the name above the number...on the front of his jersey. Not the back. Sure this kids second name may be Ball but he knows the most important one is the one he passes to his teammates en route to the basket. This is what Basketball is all about. And this is what the pass first, win MVP later Lonzo Ball is all about too. No wonder Magic wanted the tricks and trades of this Jason Kidd like Point Guard. The purest this draft has blown in in recent memory. Sure he looks like Drake but he plays like last name Ever. First name Greatest. This new Lake Show may be the youngest and best core of a future franchise, from Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson to Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ingram. And let's not forget Ivica Zubac or Kyle Kumza too. But Hollywood's new leading man wants a statue like Shaq. Magic, Kareem, the logo and all of them. The new icon of new Showtime will pick up where Kobe left off until they put his jersey next to Big Game James Worthy and the 100 point dominance of Wilt Chamberlain in the retired rafters with all those banners he hopes to put up there. This is real, no Kardashian reality show with all due respect to the Sixth Man great Lamar Odom. This is the Ball generation. Welcome to the 'Lonzo Angeles Lakers'.
But the proof of a player is in the playing. And in the words of the late, comedy great Charlie Murphy talking about the purple king Prince, "this cat can ball man"! Haters will try and photoshop his debut numbers all over his big chip Las Vegas tournament like Twitter troll torment. But the Most Valuable Player of Sin City lead his new Lakers to their first Summer League Championship. After his 11/11/11 triple/double proved on this date that B.B.B.'s flagship athlete really was the one, no matter whos shoes he was wearing (the Mamba even serving as a muse), Ball really hit the jackpot. With casino numbers of 36 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 steals, the legend of Zo cut his way into the lane and Hollywood star Walk of Fame frame like Zorro. Marking his spot like X, but with a big 'B' from Z. And if numbers better than LeBron and Steph Curry when they were in their Summer days wasn't enough, then L.B. also tore up Vegas with Kyle Kumza like Kobe and D-Fish's class of '96 for their self-dubbed "lightskin connection". Summer League Championship MVP in Lonzo's stead, Kumza showing the luck of the late first round Lakers extends further than their Jordan, Nance and Zupac choice picks. Looks like there is more to this young core than a few top tens. These kids are off the charts. And it all correlates from Lonzo setting the ball and table floor so all the Lakers can eat as he passes the peach. Those Lonzo laser, precision perfect to the point passers are more accurate than that camping sniper you just wish would respawn on another game in 'Call Of Duty'. This guys dimes are the bomb. Throwing assists like grenades with the J-Will, 'White Chocolate', freewheeling pin out and when they hit their target off the glass...BOOM! You know Randle, Ingram and especially Larry are going to love this. And if the double teams come you know an open 2K, K.C.P and Jordan on the wing can just do it from downtown. Looks like these Sports Centre bound highlights of the week are about to be the young team of the year...and decade to come. If you liked how Ball balled this Summer...just wait for the fall.
Ball big all you like but this kid is more than a brand. Adidas, Nike and Under Armor know that. Even Lavar knows this, as B.B.B. is about his three boys before it's about his name brand. As a matter of fact for someone who has stirred up so much controversy he's always made it about his sons and not number one. He wants LiAngelo and LaMelo to play for the Lonzo/Lake Show too. It seems like an impossible dream. But it's a California one in the La La Land city of stars that could only happen in Hollywood. The impossible has already happened once. Mission accomplished. Time to do it twice like Jay-Z's 'Blueprint'. Because this purple tape is all about legacy, family integrity and not gold brand strategy. No matter how expensive the shoes must be. If all three L.A. raised boys want to be King in their own city why not shine together for college and club association? Because U.C.L.A. is more than a name across a campus t-shirt or institution. It's a way of life. And the Los Angeles Lakers are more than just the National Basketball Association's most famous and flashiest franchise. They are the most storied one second to the Boston Celtics like in this years draft. From way before the seventies to 2017 and with all the Irish pride in Beantown, these L.A. lost boys could make Lakerland legacy legend. So long as in this lottery like league the Balls bounce the right way. But right now it's about Lonzo and all the places he and his Ingram and Randle big-three plus more team of the future, lead by this franchise face can go. Potential? The playoffs? The promised land? Let it all spin on Lonzo Ball's fingertips. This team and their collective future is in the palm of his hands. Now come opening night once the Spalding goes up, you know what's going down.
Let the Ball games begin...