If you don’t know his name it’s time to get familiar with the current U.S. media sensation.
Lavar Ball shows passion over his talented son Lonzo, UCLA’s top 2017 NBA draft pick candidate.
Well, my reason for highlighting this is because I see something lger at stake…I maintain savvy-ness when it comes to how we black men are portrayed in the media.
The story is unique.
Mr Ball travelled more than the extra mile to help boost Lonzo’s career by collaborating with him to develop the ‘ZO2’ sports shoe, retailing at $495.
Their BBB (Big Baller Brand) caught the attention of Adidas, Nike and Under Armour who offered Lavar multi-million dollar contracts.
He turned them down as the objective was to gain a licensing partnership, this being more beneficial when factoring in Lonzo’s future financial status.
With no sports conglomerate backing, Lavar pressed on independently and ended up marketing the shoe himself.
He was widely criticised, and accused of being arrogant and loud, yet it was an appearance on a sports show which stirred major controversy, and even consternation, when a spirited exchange broke out between him and the co-host Kristine Leahy.
It especially caught the attention of The Breakfast Club where Charlamagne Tha God delivered a roasting soliloquy of Leahy on his ‘Donkey of the Day’ segment of the show.
Why, you may ask?
In my opinion, Leahy conveniently used pejorative buzzwords invoking stereotypes that solicit the attention of feminist movements, which also appeals to ‘PC’ crowds who are threatened by confident black men.
Leahy failed to mention that in an earlier broadcast she dissed Mr Ball & son, stating that Lavar intimidates Lonzo, and pressures him to play basketball.
Leahy’s myopia concerning Lavar’s promotional techniques compounded matters further when she questioned his parenting skills, his outlook on women and his business acumen.
Misogyny was suggested too!
She proceeded to give Lavar a lecture on how to conduct himself in business and to whom he should specifically market his product to, in this case to women.
If Leahy researched, she would’ve found that BBB does carry merchandise for women, and when Levar responded she deduced that he was being sexist and had threatened her.
It’s all reminiscent of an era where such allegations coming from white women garnered responses from racists who would happily destroy ‘uppity’ black men, and an entire community.
‘Black Wall Street’ Tulsa 1921, Rosewood 1923 and the 1955 Emmitt Till murder springs to mind!
U.S. business is famed for frequently using aggressive tactics to strike deals.
My critique; Mr Ball may need a PR consultant, and the $495 price tag is steep.
But, considering Donna Karan’s or Tom Ford’s excessive pricing, and how America culturally produces bullish moguls and ginormous egos like JP Morgan or Donald Trump, one can conclude that they’re no different to Lavar.
The adage, ‘some are more equal than others’ definitely applies!
No stereotypical boxes are ticked; Lavar’s married, he’s obviously a strong father figure who maintains respect in his home, he’s present in his son’s life keeping him focused on his career, and is clearly passionate and confident in Lonzo’s ability too.
Alas, the dominant society tends to view things differently when it comes to black men, and with Lavar they prefer to character assassinate rather than constructively analyse his methods in accomplishing something of value for his son.
The initial deal pursued by Lavar with the sporting giants was one based on generational wealth, and not the type they favoured where a mere contract is offered, requiring the ZO2 patent to be relinquished.
This unprecedented move and game-changing audaciousness would inevitably cause a tsunami among corporates, bearing in mind that in such environments black men are significantly underrepresented at boardroom level.
In light of this, the assault on Lavar’s prowess seems to be a means by which to invalidate him and other ambitious ‘black upstarts’ who may challenge the status quo, so the old master/slave dynamic is perpetually maintained.
This systematic maligning and emasculation, this line of attack on black men only serves to foster societally enhanced misnomers which cripple black boys aspiring to do great things.
Meanwhile the confidence of our young sisters erodes, and moves further into obscurity while they watch us being publicly neutered?
As brothers we must be about delivering hard revolutionary round-houses to the system when challenging white supremacy with our God-given intelligence and swagger.
Personally, I thank Mr Ball for taking this stance!