Rick Carlisle, who is president of the NBA Coaches Association and is a very respected voice, sounded off on ESPN’s decision to publish a story and video in which LaVar Ball told Jeff Goodman that Luke Walton has lost Lonzo’s Lakers.
“I view the ESPN article as a disgrace, quite honestly,” Carlisle said. “Luke walton is a terrific young coach who’s bringing along a young team. It’s a difficult task and if you don’t believe it just ask me … ESPN is an NBA partner, and they’ve been a great one.”
“But, part of that partnership is that coaches do a lot of things to help them with access, interviews, all those kind of things, and in exchange for that they should back up the coaches,” he continued. “Printing an article where the father of an NBA player has an opinion — that is printed as anything like legitimate — erodes the trust that we’ve built with ESPN. And our coaches are upset because Luke Walton does not deserve that.”
Carlisle is doing his job in advocating for his professional brethren here, but this isn’t an ESPN problem, it’s a Lakers problem. LaVar Ball has consistently violated his pre-draft vow to Magic Johnson that he would not meddle with the team if they picked Lonzo, and that he was playing a character he could flip on and off like a light switch.
The Lakers knew what LaVar Ball was like and made the decision that Lonzo’s talents outweighed the risks that LaVar would renege on his promise and continue to be a helicopter dad. Nevertheless, LaVar is making these remarks all the way from Lithuania while everyone back in Los Angeles has to answer for them.
Yes, ESPN is a league partner but they pay about $1.4 billion a year to air the league’s games. Rick Carlisle, Luke Walton, and all of the coaches, owners, and players are a lot wealthier because of ESPN’s distribution costs. ESPN’s role in their partnership with the NBA isn’t for coaches to feel comfortable. Everyone can hate it all they want but LaVar Ball has proven himself to be newsworthy — if he weren’t, Carlisle wouldn’t be bothering to talk about him.
Do you agree or disagree?