We recently featured LaVar Ball on this page in a section ranking him alongside the craziest dads in world sport. Well, based on an incredible interview he gave this week to USA Today, Ball appears determined to take top spot.
The father of three highly-touted prospects -- including UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, who seems set to be selected in the top two of June's NBA draft -- Ball will be a fixture in the basketball world for years to come. And you should probably get your popcorn ready.
"Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one," said the 49-year-old.
"He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot 'cause he can't go around me. He's not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim."
At this point, it's probably worth pausing to note that Ball played one year of college basketball at Washington State, averaging 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds during the 1987-88 season. You know, the same year Jordan was averaging 35 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls.
But let's not become sidetracked about Ball's misguided boasts. This is about his sons, and there is little doubt about their abundant talent.
Lonzo, as mentioned, could soon become a franchise-changing player in the NBA. Middle child LiAngelo will next season follow in Lonzo's footsteps and head to UCLA, while younger brother LaMelo has already committed to the same college -- and has already made national headlines by scoring 92 points in a high school game.
Sounds like a marketing dream, right? Three alliterative brothers with undeniable basketball talent and a big-mouthed father who can spout ridiculous things -- like saying Lonzo is a better player right now than two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry -- to draw further attention to the brand.
Say, LaVar, how much would it cost for a hopeful sportswear company to snap up all three brothers in a package deal?
"A billion dollars, it has to be there," Ball said. "That's our number, a billion, straight out of the gate. And you don't even have to give it to me all up front. Give us $100 mil over 10 years."
Oh, the billion dollars doesn't have to be delivered in a lump sum? In that case, what a bargain. For some context, LeBron James is rumoured to have signed a billion-dollar deal with Nike, but that's a lifetime arrangement. And that's LeBron James.
LaVar's proclivity to open his mouth and say something amazing has, understandably, raised some eyebrows in the basketball community, with Hall of Famer Charles Barkley voicing what would probably be a common consensus.
"I know you can be proud of your son," the NBA analyst told Sporting News. "But at some point, it becomes stupidity."
Trail-blazing hockey player hanging up skates
As weightlifter Laurel Hubbard prepares to become the first transgender athlete to represent New Zealand in international competition, the first openly trans athlete in a professional North American team sport is ending his playing career.
Harrison Browne came out publicly as transgender late last year, before the current National Women's Hockey League season, but will finish his career with the Buffalo Beauts after this weekend's playoffs.
Born Hailey Browne, the 23-year-old made history with his announcement last October and helped the NWHL create its first transgender policy. His name and pronoun were changed officially and, in accordance with league guidelines prohibiting testosterone therapy, Browne said he was postponing his medical transition until after his playing career.
"I feel like people don't take you seriously, and sometimes I don't take myself seriously either, because I'm walking around saying I'm one thing but I look like I'm something else," Browne told the New York Times. "It's going to be so validating to look into the mirror and see the person that I see inside."
With the subject of transgender athletes coming increasingly into prominence, Browne at least plans to stay in sport and offer his guidance, intending to serve on the NWHL Board of Advisers next year.
"Harrison is leaving quite a legacy from his two years in our league," league commissioner Dani Rylan told Deadspin. "He is a pioneer for transgender rights and has been a great hockey player at every level of the game.
"He is going to be missed, but it's gratifying to know that Brownie is remaining a part of the NWHL family."