The Ball family is not perfect, but no family is

By MATTHEW RITCHIE | November 16, 2017

he last week has been slightly challenging to say the least for the world-famous Ball troupe. Last week, news broke that while the UCLA men’s basketball team was on a trip to China, the middle Ball son, freshman LiAngelo Ball, and two other team members were arrested on suspicion of robbing a Louis Vuitton store within the team’s hotel.

What were the items in question? A pair of sunglasses and some high-end bags. For this reason, the players were forced to stay under house arrest in their hotel in China while their teammates played a game and traveled back to the United States without them.

Now, few are qualified to establish motive for one of the more juvenile crimes to cause an international incident, and I am not one of them. But I am going to do my best, because otherwise I don’t have anything to write about this week.

First off, I feel bad for LiAngelo Ball. The majority of the nation didn’t know that the middle Ball brother even existed.

When the family first made it onto the national scene, news outlets relentlessly covered father LaVar’s brash and “ballsy” comments, eldest son Lonzo’s flashy play at UCLA and youngster LaMelo’s viral on-court antics as a high school sophomore. We never heard about LiAngelo.

Like his brothers, LiAngelo was committed to play basketball for the UCLA Bruins early. He is 100 percent a talented basketball player who deserves to at least be noticed by those around him. It is not at all like LiAngelo is a non-factor. However, he continues to be overlooked by everyone.

This includes his father, who pays more attention to the youngest brother than to LiAngelo. It seems like after Lonzo moved onto the NBA, Lavar skipped right over attending to his middle child and focused all his attention to LaMelo, his youngest son. LaMelo was even gifted a signature shoe, which probably makes him the only 15 year old in the history of the world with a signature shoe.

Meanwhile, prototypical middle child LiAngelo was told by his father that his dreams of making the NBA were unrealistic. Imagine being told by your dad that your life goal was probably unattainable, all while he continually works with your two other siblings to make sure their same dream comes true.

Realistically, the three players did not need to steal those items. The Ball family is worth millions of dollars and could most likely afford 92 percent of the items in the store. I truly do not believe that this was done because LiAngelo and the others were desperately craving some Louis Vuitton.

In my expert psychoanalysis, it seems that the reason LiAngelo was involved in this incident was mainly for attention. He acted out in a way that an overlooked child does to grab the attention of someone they love. It is completely understandable.

The problem is that when most of us want to catch the attention of another person, we do not do it by breaking the law in one of the strictest countries in the world and almost causing an international incident.

In LiAngelo’s mind, he most likely thought that what was shoplifted would not amount to much, that he would just get a slap on the wrist. But when the 45th President of the United States takes time out of his diplomatic trip to China to vouch for leniency on the situation, it would be safe to say that the stunt was a little more serious than LiAngelo had thought.

LiAngelo Ball is not a bad kid or a thug or a menace. He made a mistake, a ridiculously large one, but a mistake nonetheless. His decision to think a little selfishly only adds to the somewhat negative rep that the Ball family (unfairly) has.

With the patriarch of the family, LaVar, rubbing some of the media the wrong way, a lot of people look for reasons to crucify the family. Whether it’s Lavar’s comments towards a female interviewer on Fox Sports 1 or LaMelo letting the n-word slip on national television during WWE Raw, detractors are bursting at the seams to bury the family in a myriad of controversy.

I would hate for this to become a reason for people to rail against the family.

The Balls are really just a normal family, with a father attempting to provide the best situation for all three of his sons and build their brand. They are not perfect, but no family in America is.

However, because they happen to be in the public eye, they must be more careful about how they act.

For real though, it’s time to lay off the Ball kids, because they really are no different from us.

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