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LaVar Ball hosts lavish draft party for LaMelo amid pandemic, re-ups challenge to Michael Jordan

Jason Owens
·2-min read

LaVar Ball stays marketing.

The boisterous basketball dad who slinked from the scene after some financial mishaps and the failure of the Big Baller Brand seized a new opportunity for the spotlight on his son’s big night.

The Balls hosted a lavish draft-night party at their Chino Hills, California, home on Wednesday complete with catering and a Rolls Royce gifted to the man of honor, No. 3 overall pick and new Charlotte Hornet LaMelo Ball.

LaMelo Ball mingles with 250 guests

They invited ESPN’s Tim Keown to document the experience. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged and ruined Thanksgiving plans across the country, the Balls hosted roughly 250 people — by Keown’s estimate — to bear witness to LaMelo’s big night.

The evening wasn’t completely without precaution with hand sanitizer made available and temperature checks at the door, per Keown. LaMelo made sure to speak directly with every guest, according to the account.

LaVar Ball is interviewed after a basketball game in Prienai, Lithuania. LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are leaving their Lithuania team by mutual agreement. BC Prienu Vytautas on Thursday, April 26, 2018, announced the departure of the younger brothers of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Lithuanian basketball writer Donatas Urbonas says on Twitter that father LaVar Ball told him he was upset over LaMelo's diminished playing time.(AP Photo/Liusjenas Kulbis, File)
LaVar Ball continued to keep the flame alive for Big Baller Brand. (AP file Photo/Liusjenas Kulbis, File)

LaVar pushes BBB, re-issues MJ challenge

And while the sun has long set on the Big Baller Brand, LaVar continued to keep the facade alive by offering swag-filled gift baskets to his guests with BBB-branded dish towels and coffee mugs.

LaVar took the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors passing on LaMelo in stride, per Keown. He made the most of Michael Jordan’s Hornets drafting LaMelo, re-upping one of the most outlandish claims of his run in the spotlight — challenging Jordan once again to a game of one-on-one.

Ball envisions the event as a pay-per-view extravaganza a la Mike Tyson’s upcoming boxing exhibition against Roy Jones Jr.

“Hey, if people are willing to pay to see 50-year-old Mike Tyson fight, why not?” Ball said, per Keown.

There’s been no word from Jordan, who said previously of Ball’s boast that he could beat him: “I don’t think he could beat me if I was one-legged.”

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