In defense of LaVar

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LaVar Ball is living the American dream. His clear-eyed optimism, love for his family and overflowing confidence in himself and his children represent the best our country has to offer. But some, including world-renowned hater and Daily Cal assistant sports editor Sophie Goethals, have taken it upon themselves to attack LaVar as a “fanatical parent who is woefully unaware that he cannot live and prosper through his children.”

I am usually a very calm and reasonable person. I keep my head down when others choose to engage in childish mudslinging. But I cannot let Goethals’ comments, which are an affront to the grand American Dream and the diligence of hard working people everywhere, slide.

In her soliloquy, Goethals argues the usual: LaVar is a parasite to his kids, feeding off their talents to get attention for himself and his clothing brand, Big Baller Brand. I wonder what Goethals would call herself, who debases another person’s character on a semi-national stage just for a few (read: no) laughs.

Everything LaVar Ball has done has been to benefit his kids. Who was talking about Lonzo Ball back in December? Who was throwing Lonzo’s name around as a potential top-two NBA draft pick before LaVar began making outlandish comments to the media? I certainly wasn’t.

This is a man deeply motivated by love for his family. This is a man who has unwavering support for his kids and saw from day one that his children would become legends. And now that the entire world sees it too, they have tried to delegitimize him.

Goethals then criticizes the Big Baller Brand, bringing attention to the brand’s admittedly high prices of t-shirts and hats. I question the integrity of such an observation, however, from a person who regularly wears Patagonia sweaters — known for its overblown prices and for serving as a symbol of the white aristocracy — to the point that she once stated, “I own so much Patagonia, I’ve lost count.”

Until this point, I was fine. Maybe Goethals’ criticisms of LaVar were isolated incidents, forgivable missteps. But she proved me wrong and went too far when she took the opportunity to attack another American icon: the Kardashian family, and its matriarch, Kris Jenner. The Kardashian family has reached an unprecedented level of fame through an unremarkable amount of effort. Kris Jenner has guaranteed the financial well being of her family for generations, so that they can afford all the clothing, cars, mansions and hair dye they will ever need. If that doesn’t count as a success, then I don’t know what does.

I can’t say that I am an exemplary person, or even someone who possesses admirable qualities. But I have one rule that I follow, and it comes from the great Biggie Smalls:

“I can’t never stop nobody, can’t knock nobody hustle.”

The American dream is not always picturesque. It is a hustle. It is the humble beginnings as a TV show host that lead to the presidency of the United States. It is why people continue to flock to this country and believe they can all be millionaires and presidents. And it is LaVar Ball.

Contact Haruka Senju at [email protected]