LiAngelo Ball is looking to make a name for himself and follow in the footsteps of his father, LaVar Ball, and his brothers, Lonzo and LaMelo.
The 22-year old has been lighting up the off-season Summer League and is hoping to join the Charlotte Hornets’ NBA roster and make his folks proud.
After a few slightly volatile adolescent years – which saw him forego college basketball due to a suspension after he was caught shoplifting in China – LiAngelo has worked his way up the leagues and is currently a free agent waiting to make his next move.
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The Next Hornet?
Much of the NBA media liked to write off LiAngelo Ball.
While in China for a season-opener as a freshman playing for UCLA, LiAngelo and two other players on his team were arrested for stealing from a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel where his team was staying.
With each player facing up to ten years in jail, the entire UCLA team left without them before LiAngelo had the chance to play in a single game.
Amidst a media frenzy (including a tweet from then-President Donald Trump saying that he should have left LiAngelo and the other two players in jail in China instead of helping them) and despite LiAngelo’s young age at the time of the incident, LiAngelo was publicly shamed and discarded. He left UCLA.
After leaving UCLA, he spent some time playing in Lithuania’s basketball league and he also debuted in the Los Angeles Ballers, a league started by his widely-recognized, empathic father, LaVar Ball, when he felt that the talent of his sons was not being recognized.
Even as the fame of LiAngelo’s brothers grew, he was the one who recruiters and media came to ignore, assuming that he would never play in the NBA. He was often seen as the problem child of the Ball family, or as one disappointment amongst a family of stars.
But not anymore.
Instead of giving up, the last few years have made LiAngelo a resilient individual, and he has grabbed his opportunity with both hands, with reports coming out saying the Hornets’ board have been impressed with LiAngelo’s performances in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Jordan Schultz of ESPN has high hopes for the shooting guard, tweeting:
The future looks bright for LiAngelo, and while he is vying for a spot in the NBA G League, many fans think he can fulfill his potential by getting a contract in the NBA. The Hornets believe that he should be in the NBA, and while the NBA has had a complicated relationships in the past with the Ball family (and the drama that they bring with them) LiAngelo’s talent is beginning to drown out all the noise.
“I know myself,” LiAngelo said, “I’m an NBA player.”
LiAngelo will be hoping for the best, and his performances are doing him no harm. When press asked LiAngelo if he thought his performance had earned him a position on the roster next season, he didn’t opt for the same brazen confidence that has become characteristic of his family. Humbled by years of reality checks, he simply said, “I hope so.”
We hope so, too, LiAngelo.