OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Can't Knock The Hustle: LaVar Ball

Can't Knock The Hustle: LaVar Ball

“Fuck the world; the world is ending, I’m done pretending, and fuck you if you get offended…” – Kendrick Lamar

I’ve never met LaVar Ball, and I have no desire to. However, I know plenty of LaVar Ball’s, I’ve seen, and of course, HEARD them my entire life at barbershops, at the park, during graduations, at cookouts, at the bar, etc. Those loud, obnoxious older dudes who are “unapologetically” themselves, who mean no harm to anyone & are loving as all hell. Maybe YOU don’t know a LaVar Ball because YOU are not the totality of Black America. But here’s the thing…I’m not the totality either. I grew up without a father, and seeing LaVar Ball be the type of dad he is gives me extreme joy because I know if I had a dad like him, I’d be president of the United Earth. Not the United States, where obviously anyone can be president; I’m talking President of the United Earth.

I’ve seen so many people give up on their dreams because they didn’t have someone in their corner. I’ve heard so many people cry because they’re always told what they can’t do or become. We all talk about support but begrudge a man for supporting & believing in his sons to the point where he is attempting to do something nobody has ever accomplished.

People have called LaVar Ball a lot of negative things because of their perception of him. LaVar Ball went on a white-owned TV/radio network, and told a white woman to stay in her lane on the white people’s network. If I only liked LaVar Ball before, I now love this man!

There are a lot of Black people who are scared to be themselves in front of white people out of fear of being a stereotype. I’m not one of those Black people. I went from sitting in the rafters at MSG to sitting courtside, and I kept that same energy. Was I supposed to “behave” differently? I would yell at players from the 400, 200 & 100 sections of MSG, was I supposed to become a docile Negro because I’m sitting next to rich white folks now? You got me & LaVar Ball fucked up, we keep the same energy everywhere we go.

Why is it when LaVar’s Big Baller Brand started making waves…everyone all of a sudden became a panelist from the reality show Shark Tank? Where did everyone get this sudden business acumen?

The most frustrating conversations I have include ownership with people who are content being workers. The agendas don’t match so there will always be a complete lack of understanding between both parties. I don’t begrudge people who are content to be workers, 9-5 or otherwise, in fact I'm jealous of their peace of mind. I don’t have the luxury of not wanting ownership, I need to own everything, not only for me, but so people who look like me don’t have to beg people who don’t look like us for an opportunity. We all love to say we salute each other’s grind, but the very first second someone’s grind is out of the box, people get this sense of entitlement to have an opinion on it.

We’re so quick to give companies that don’t give a fuck about us prestige, but guess what? They had to start from nothing at one point too. Everybody & everything is crazy until it happens…then everybody & everything is genius. Lonzo Ball went 2nd in the 2017 NBA Draft, I’d like to think that’s a good thing, but where are all the jokes for LaVar & the Ball family now? Nothing's funny when a motherfucker is right, huh? Ain’t nothing funny bout excellence, but if Lonzo had somehow slipped in the draft, everybody would have something negative to say about LaVar causing it. So why not give LaVar his props for raising an NBA prospect, and being a dope ass father? Because people love to make villains out of loud & obnoxious Black men. Well, LaVar Ball is a fucking hero.

Accountability is a thing. But what are you? Why does LaVar Ball have to “behave” the way you desire him to? I thought we were in the age of being unapologetically ourselves? I was under the assumption that we were living carefree, but it seems everyone goes out of their way to care & be bothered by the actions of others that have absolutely nothing to do with them. Everybody wants people to be their idea of what unapologetic is, which to me is bullshit because most people are full of shit.

Unapologetic is just a gentrified way of saying ghetto because these new phony Black elitists can monetize their “Blackness” to those who believe they are the gatekeepers to all that is Black America. However, these new phony Black elitists do not represent all of Black America because regardless of how they market themselves, they have not lived an experience that all of Black America has. How can these fake fucks represent people who they do not acknowledge or respect?

To LaVar Ball, I offer you this piece of unwarranted advice, someone once told me, “Everybody can tell you how to do it, they NEVER did it.” Keep doing your thing Mr. LaVar Ball, my Black ass is proud of you, and I hope you milk the game for everything it’s worth. Signed, president of your fan club, The BBB Hive. Keep pissing people off by being yourself, and never ask for permission to break the mold, I love that!

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