No one talks a bigger game than LaVar Ball, who famously asserted he would “kill” Michael Jordan, the NBA’s unquestioned GOAT (though consensus runner-up LeBron James is starting to make things interesting), in a game of 1 on 1. Back then, Ball probably didn’t expect Jordan, longtime owner of the Charlotte Hornets, to select his son with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft. With 19-year-old LaMelo, a lanky 6’7” guard who starred in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) before arriving in the NBA, now under Jordan’s wing, will LaVar’s proposed showdown with His Airness finally take place?
While LaVar, who also has ties to Charlotte owing to his admittedly brief tenure as a Panthers tight end in the 90s, remains open to the possibility, LaMelo doesn’t see his father hooping with MJ any time soon. “I think we know how it would turn out, to be honest,” Ball told Steve Reed of the Associated Press Friday at his Hornets introduction in Charlotte. “It’s my pops and my boss, so I’m on both sides now.”
What Ball seems to be implying is that his delusional dad would be lucky to score a point off Jordan, who could probably beat LaVar—he of 2.2 career points per game at Washington State—with a single hand. The other hand, of course, would be used to puff one of the six cigars Jordan reportedly smokes per day. A six-time NBA champ versus a Pac-12 benchwarmer doesn’t exactly scream “fair fight,” but who knows. If Denzel Washington could luck into a couple buckets against Ray Allen, maybe the 6’6” LaVar could do the same.
Jordan didn’t seem too phased by LaVar coming for his throne when the subject was raised in 2017, adamantly dismissing Ball’s chances. “He averaged 2.2 points per game,” said Jordan at the time. “It doesn’t dignify an answer, but I’m going to give it to you because you asked the question. I don’t think he could beat me if I was one-legged.”
Charlotte seemed to be the preferred destination for the Ball family all along. Though LaMelo didn’t object quite as strongly, LaVar had no desire to see his son end up in Golden State, where he would be a backup to future Hall-of-Famer Steph Curry. Luckily the Warriors, who drafted one pick before the Hornets at No. 2, chose Memphis center James Wiseman instead.