Be careful about bashing LaVar Ball, because we are the real problem

All through last week’s LaVar Ball spectacle in Las Vegas, college basketball coaches lamented to me about how much of a circus the Adidas Summer Championships — and by extension the entire summer youth basketball circuit — had become because of this one man.

This singular character had become a space through which all basketball conversations were filtered. College coaches cursed his name and the bad headlines he brought upon the summer basketball circuit at a time when grassroots basketball has become as well-organized and as prominent as ever before.

Coaches spoke about where they were on the night of the epic overflow-crowd game between Ball’s team and top 2018 recruit Zion Williamson’s team as if they were talking about the Kennedy assassination. They spoke of LaVar Ball as if he were a cancer, someone who brought nothing but malignancy to everything he touched, who needed to be excised and tossed away.

But there’s a nasty truth when we try to describe LaVar Ball as a total aberration in our world, as a singular presence whose actions reveal nothing at all about the state of basketball in 2017, or, for that matter, about the state of our world:

As much as we want to describe LaVar Ball as a disease, the truth is he is more

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