This past year’s NCAA Sweet 16 featured a matchup between two Blue Blood programs, Kentucky and UCLA. The two teams also featured two of the top picks in the upcoming draft, point guards De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball.
Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was in attendance for the game, as the Lakers were in line for a lottery pick, and Fox ended up getting the better of Ball scoring 39 points in Kentucky’s 86-75 victory.
Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, talked a lot throughout the season about how Lonzo would lead UCLA to an NCAA Championship, like he did at Chino Hills High School when they won a state championship in 2016.
But Fox had other plans, and he was very candid in admitting that he wanted to shut LaVar up by beating UCLA in the Sweet 16, via Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated:
“Kill mode all the time,” is how Fox described his mindset before the UCLA game in March. “Shut Lavar Ball up,” is how he explains it a few months later.
Fox also added that he has known Lonzo for a while, as they played against each other in high school, and LaVar wasn’t always as outspoken as he is now:
“In the last year, he became relevant for some reason,” Fox says. “When I knew Lonzo in high school, I’d never seen his dad before. He went crazy this year. I guess when your son is a lottery pick, that gives you a lot of confidence.”
Fox may have had a better game on that day, but Ball is still more likely to end up being drafted by his hometown Lakers.
Recent reports are saying that Johnson is in love with Washington point guard Markelle Fultz though, so the Lakers may attempt to move up to No. 1 by trading the second pick and power forward Julius Randle.
Only time will tell who the Lakers end up taking though, as the draft is set for this upcoming Thursday, June 22.