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January 14, 2018

Citius Mag’s first and last article about LaVar Ball

What’s there to say about LaVar Ball that hasn’t already been said? He gets an enormous amount of media coverage despite seemingly being despised by everyone, his kid included. In a media landscape that values hot takes over anything else, the Big Ball himself will oblige with one hot take after another. There’s a part of me that believes if he ran for president he could actually win based on the amount of free coverage he would get and the fact that the bar for who can be president has been set staggeringly low. 

But I’m not here to offer my opinion on Dad Ball. I’m here because someone recently asked me what track & field’s LaVar Ball would look like. How would he act? What would his outlandish claims be? Would his kid flourish or falter because of it? Would the generally mild-mannered track and field fans rejoice over having a consistently newsworthy personality or would they balk and throw the guy to the wolves?

Everybody, please put on your thinking caps.

It’s time to speculate about a bunch of dumb stuff.

WHAT WOULD TRACK LAVAR BALL LOOK LIKE?

If I may judge a book by its cover very quickly: LaVar Ball looks like an athlete. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall, which is big. He has an imposing barrel chest and a big bald head, which look intimidating. He can pull off the mustache that he is sporting. To me, he looks like a washed up athlete, but probably possesses an imposing amount of dad strength. Ask him how much he could bench and he’d probably say “500 pounds.” I’d be inclined to believe him. Plus take a look at Young LaVar:

So if Basketball Ball looks like he used to be able to whoop ass, so too does Track Ball. Track Ball is absolutely wearing running shoes with jeans. His jeans, despite being a slimmer cut, are billowy due to his hairless, vascular, sinewy legs. He has a watch tan. He is wearing sunglasses. He will claim to have once raced Frank Shorter in some unknown TOUGH 70s road race and beat him. This claim cannot be backed up by any amount of research.

WHAT ABOUT HIS BOY, TRACK BALL JR?

Ball Boy Jr. plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, a terrible basketball team. The franchise, though, carries a lot of clout, and for some reason has not fallen out of favor with basketball’s largest market.

This one’s hard because teams are less of a thing in track and field, but I’d say that Track Ball Jr. would 100% be a member of the Nike Oregon Project. In the track and field world NIKE is about as big of a name as LAKER is in the basketball world. The only difference between the Lakers and the Nike Oregon Project is that the NOP roster actually boasts a handful of the most impressive runners in the world. But they are (mostly) despised by the running community and I think that’s a good enough trade-off in this case.

Mr. Basketball Ball has a few other kids, though, and they’re currently playing professional basketball in Lithuania on a team whose coach reportedly sells meat out of the trunk of his car when he’s not coaching.

The parallel here is tough to pin down because the professional basketball circuit in Europe is pretty well known and a lot of people (Big Baller included) see it as a stepping stone to the NBA. Thus why many NBA hopefuls are willing to go to Europe in the first place for less pay, less recognition, and under less-than-ideal circumstances.

If you are a runner, though, and this is the experience you’re looking for, you could very easily just stay in America and try to scrape by on $10,000/year (maybe? It could also be substantially less) and the occasional free shoe.

So for the sake of this article we’ll say that Track Ball’s other kids signed some sort of gear deal with HOKA ONE ONE and are living out of their dad’s basement hawking shoes at the local Fleet Feet on the weekends. Blue collar, baby.

WAIT, WHAT ABOUT BIG BALLER BRAND?

Right. Great question. I guess the endorsements here are pretty interesting. There’s a lot of money in NBA endorsements, and that’s because the people that sign these enormous deals are some of the sport’s world’s most visible superstars.

Track is a little different in that there is no money at all, and most people on the street couldn’t distinguish between Galen Rupp and a can of beans. But I’d like to think that Track’s LaVar Ball would still be willing to take on Nike.

As a lot of people have pointed out, Lonzo’s signature Big Baller Brand shoe looks a lot like Kobe’s signature shoe. The track equivalent would just be peeling the Nike logo off a pair of Victorys and using a sharpie to letter in BIG RUNNER BRAND. (If anyone of our followers decide to do this, please tweet us photos)

He will sell them out of the trunk of his car at any meet his sons are competing and the price tag will be $1,000.

Teens will love it.

YEAH BUT HOW FAST CAN THE KIDS RUN?

Well, young Lonzo Ball was good enough to be a one-and-done player for UCLA–another historically great, but recently bad basketball team–and get selected 2nd overall in the NBA draft.

This feels like the equivalent of winning an NCAA title, then showing up to USAs wearing a NIKE kit. So, Track’s LaVar Ball has one definitively FAST child.

The other two are fine. If you remember, one of the Basketball Ball Children (LiAngelo) was a freshman at UCLA before he shoplifted some stuff from a Louis Vuitton in China and had to have Trump bail him out of jail before he was publicly caned. The other Ball Child (LaMelo) is, like, 14 and once scored 90-some points in a high school game.

I don’t know what else to say about these kids so we’ll just issue a blanket statement: yes, Track Ball would have one good child, and two others that are potentially good yet unproven. They would be intriguing enough, though, that they’d get a tremendous amount of press. Maybe one of them flipped the bird as they crossed the finish line of a state meet and got disqualified. Maybe the other has a gnarly kick and closed in 52-seconds in the 800m at a duel meet.

This is so stupid. Moving on.

WHAT KIND OF OUTLANDISH CLAIMS WOULD TRACK’S LAVAR BALL MAKE?

“My son will only run for Alberto Salazar.”

“I’ll tell you right now, he’s faster than Matt Centrowitz.”

“American record in six months or less”

“Back in my heyday I would kill Bob Kennedy in a 5,000m.”

“If Alan Webb thought like me then maybe he’d have an Olympic Gold Medal.”

“Track Ball Jr. is fittin’ to step over Usain Bolt as the best Olympian ever.”

“Whose team is it? Man, everybody know whose team it is – it’s Track Ball Jr.’s team! Kipchoge’s coming over here to join us. We ain’t going over there to join him.”

“Nike ain’t going to tell me shit, because they’re not my boss.”

“It’s already a done deal. I got the gold medal already.”

“Track Ball Jr. and Track Ball Jr. Jr. each drive $100,000 BMWs.”

“STAY IN YO LANE”

WHAT WOULD THE TRACK WORLD’S RESPONSE BE?

Nick Symmonds would love it; middle America would hate it; anyone with a punching chance of making a World team would be pretty indifferent; the rest of the men and women that are living a blue collar running life would absolutely hate it; and Citius Mag would compile a weekly list of Track Ball’s best quotes.

He would be a regular on Chavez’s podcast.

Anyway. If you made it to the end of this, I’m sorry. Have a nice day.

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