LaMelo Ball probably had the most random path to the NBA in the history of the league and yet was still able to receive the Rookie of the Year award with the Hornets. The young man played professionally for years and was a fan favorite on the TV Show starring him and his family called Ball in the Family. This is why the media has followed him so closely throughout the past couple years, and his play on the court is yet another reason added onto that. However, even though we got to hear about him a lot in the past, there is a lot of things we simply don’t know about LaMelo. For all of those people that are interested to learn more about one of the potential superstars of this league, we will be going over ten of the most interesting facts regarding LaMelo in today’s video. Make sure you stick around until the end of the video as well to find out what former NBA champion compared LaMelo to a future Hall of Fame player!
Number ten. LaMelo almost exclusively grew up playing older competition. He was born on August 22, 2001, and first started playing basketball at the incredibly young age of four. Though it must have been easier to learn when he had both two older brothers and his father to show him the ropes at an early age. This is why he was able to perform at such a high level despite playing in competition above his age range. Even nowadays, you can tell that he plays the game of basketball like a veteran despite only being in the NBA for one season. It was no shock that he was able to walk away with the Rookie of the Year award last season.
Number nine. LaMelo Ball used to play for Chino Hills alongside his two brothers but ended up leaving shortly after they left. Instead of sticking around and trying to keep Chino Hills in contention for another season, he had a bit of an issue with his head coach. That issue ended up causing him to transfer but not for another school in the United States, rather to a team over in Lithuania at just 16 years old. He spent some time with Vytautas Prienai and had multiple great games, even had some NBA scouts take the trip over there just to see how good this young kid actually was. However, when you ask him about what he remembers the most about his time there, it isn’t going to be some life lesson or anything like that. Instead, the says that the only thing he remembers is the freezing cold temperatures and the snow that rained down almost every day over there.
Number eight. Speaking of the Lithuanian Basketball League, LaMelo left it because his father had issues with their head coach. So, yet again there was head coaching issues which caused Ball to get up and take his talents elsewhere. The issue this time around was that LaVar felt like LaMelo wasn’t getting enough playing time with his new squad. After all, the up-and-coming star was only picking up around 12 minutes per contest, which simply isn’t enough considering the amount of recognition their team was getting just from having him on the roster. Though it should also be noted that Ball simply wasn’t playing that well with them, so it was simply a bad situation all around. He averaged just 6.5 points and 2.4 assists per game at the end of the season on just 26.8 percent from the field.
Number seven. LaMelo played for his families league, the Junior Basketball Association. LaVar is the creator of this league, and he did it so that it could be an alternative to college basketball. LaMelo was obviously the biggest name in the league, and he debuted for the Los Angeles Ballers in his first year. He put up a 40-point triple double early on in the season, though shot the ball 40 times and only made 15 of those. The rest of the year pretty much went the exact same way, with LaMelo receiving the majority of the shots on offense. He did lead the Baller to a JBA Championship victory over the Seattle Ballers. Later on, he was named to the JBA USA, an international team that faced off against a couple of European teams on an international tour of sorts. Side note, he actually got ejected during one of those tour games after slapping an opposing player in the face during a small scuffle in the middle of the game. No further suspensions or punishments were handed out to him afterwards and he later chose to leave the JBA tour and pursue other opportunities.
Number six. LaMelo also played for the Australian-based National Basketball League. Mind you, he did all of this during the years that he should have been a high schooler and college student. He signed a two-year deal with the Illawarra Hawks and was able to get the contract through the Next Stars program. The whole purpose of the program is to develop future NBA Draft prospects, which LaMelo definitely was at this time. He was coming off the bench towards the beginning of the season but later blossomed after the starting point guard suffered a serious injury that would keep him out for the entire season. Ball then got injured a couple of weeks later and opted to sit out the rest of the year. Still, he was able to win the NBL Rookie of the Year award by a small margin before leaving after just one season to throw his name into the NBA Draft. Make sure you stick around until the end of the video to find out which NBA Champion played against LaMelo Ball before he got into the league and had ridiculously high praise for him!
Number five. LaMelo became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double. He was able to do so at the age of 19 years and 140 days, narrowly beating the record that was just broken by Markelle Fultz by 177 days. He dropped 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the process. But now that we are on the topic of broken records, LaMelo and Lonzo became the first brothers to both be drafted in the top five. Lonzo was famously selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the number two overall pick in 2017 and then Lamelo was drafted number two overall as well to the Charlotte Hornets. We have even gotten to see LiAngelo get some NBA action in the summer league as a member of the Hornets squad. Maybe we could finally see all three Ball brothers in the league, joining the Antetokounmpo’s and the Holidays.
Number four. It was reported that LaMelo Ball somehow verbally committed to play for UCLA at the age of 13! The kid wasn’t even in high school yet and was already committed to one of the best colleges around for basketball. They weren’t the only school to make a push for him as both Virginia and Washington State did everything that they could to land the five-star recruit before he chose to play in Lithuania and Australia. Nevertheless, he believed that UCLA was his dream school and didn’t want to go anywhere else if for some reason he opted to stay and play in college. There was a lot of questions regarding his college eligibility though at the time. After all, his father already didn’t want him to play in college and LaMelo himself hired an agent alongside his professional experience he earned in Lithuania. This is exactly the reason that the majority of big-name schools like Duke or Kentucky chose to not go after him in the long run. Not like it would have mattered though because he had his heart set on UCLA anyways. Still, despite not having many college options he had plenty of other choices such as the NBA G-League, China and Australia.
Number three. Do you know how ironic it is that LaMelo Ball fell to the Hornets at number two? Well, neither did we until we found out about this fact regarding LaVar. LaVar had apparently called out Michael Jordan. Yes, the Jordan that is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time and the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. LaVar said that he could beat Jordan in a game of basketball one on one, going even further later on and saying that he could do it with one arm tied behind his back. That apparently didn’t discourage Jordan and the rest of the Hornets staff as they still felt that LaMelo was worthy of a top selection. Could we possibly see a one-on-one matchup between Jordan and LaVar in the future? I certainly hope so, as it would likely be televised considering the impact LaVar has on social media and the push Jordan has in the basketball industry as a whole. Though it should also be noted that Jordan would whoop LaVar in an actual competition. Knowing how competitive Jordan is when it comes to anything and the fact that LaVar was awful during a couple of shootarounds on social media, it is safe to assume who will take the win here regardless of what is at stake.
Number two. LaMelo already has a shoe deal locked and loaded. This was already a surprise considering his family owns the Big Baller Brand and their own line of shoes. Still, LaMelo wanted to go somewhere more official and inked a pretty serious deal with Puma. Puma has been growing exponentially as of late and they didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to land the future face of the league. They gave him a $100 million deal with an unknown number of years at the moment, but it does set him up nicely for the future. After all, Lonzo also chose to leave Big Baller Brand behind and find a shoe deal elsewhere once he had pain issues while playing in BBB branded shoes. Other young stars that Puma was able to ink down on deals were Kyle Kuzma, R.J. Barrett and Michael Porter Jr. This company isn’t messing around anymore and wants to take some publicity away from Nike and Jordan respectfully. Signing an entire batch of upcoming NBA stars may be able to do just that. You can bet that there will be quite a bit of new shoes coming from the company within the next couple of years.
Number one. LaMelo made a former NBA Champion become a big fan of his during his time in the Australian League. Ball went up against Andrew Bogut, a center that was able to win a championship with the Golden State Warriors during the 2014 NBA season with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Nowadays he plays in the Australian league as a member of the Sydney Kings, where he matched up with LaMelo. Bogut was actually so impressed after competing against LaMelo that he compared him to two Hall of Fame players, Jason Kidd and Rajon Rondo. Bogut couldn’t talk enough about his playmaking as a player which is why those comparisons make perfect sense. Most times these types of comparisons don’t get much attention. However, given that Bogut has been a professional basketball player for such a long time while also being a champion, I believe it is pretty fair for him to give his own opinion on any future draft prospect. Especially considering that he played against him, so he got to see everything about LaMelo’s game up close and personal.
That just about does it for this video on the ten most interesting facts about LaMelo Ball. If you enjoyed this video, be sure to leave a like and subscribe for more content just like this! Also, remember to hit that bell icon so that you are always notified when we upload because you aren’t going to want to miss out in the future!