The 2017 NBA Draft provided a lot of entertainment around the NBA, whether from the selections themselves, the trades that coincided or the reaction from social media. The first two picks in the draft, Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, each caused a storm of reactions, although they were expected picks.
The Ball selection did come with some extracurricular activities, as is normally the case with Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball. Social media had a field day with the Big Baller Brand CEO, with it escalating when Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons subtweeted the Ball family.
It didn’t take long for LaVar to become aware of their comments, with the Big Baller Brand CEO firing back at the injury plagued players, via Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com:
“When you don’t win and don’t even make the playoffs, and don’t even stay on the court long enough, that’s the best thing you can do is Tweet, make some stuff,” Ball said, via Liberty Ballers. “Ain’t nobody else doing that, because they’re working on their game in the gym. These guys ain’t played a game, always hurt, and at the bottom of the totem pole. So guess what, get your a**es off the goddamn Tweeter, and get in the gym.”
LaVar also wasn’t shy in taking a shot at the leadership qualities of the 76ers, especially during their collegiate careers. When getting into specifics, he commended them for making it to the NBA, but pointed out how Simmons and Fultz failed to make their teammates and programs better:
“Add their games up and see how they turn the program around. LSU (where Simmons attended) wasn’t turned around, they’re great players. They’re good, they made it to the NBA, they’re good kids that can play,” Ball said. “Both of ’em played in college and didn’t uplift their team. I ain’t got nothing against Fultz, that boy can play, but if you really that good, your team gotta go at least .500 if you got a bunch of blind midgets.”
Simmons, who posted 19.2 point, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament after a disappointing 19-14 record. Fultz, a presumed top prospect, lead his team to a 9-22 record, a major shock.
The key for the Sixers will undoubtedly be the health of both Embiid and Simmons. If they can stay healthy, Philly will have one of the best collections of young talent in the NBA.
LaVar Ball has never been a shy person when it comes back to speaking his mind, with a little rivalry brewing between all the top picks in the draft. One thing is for sure, it will be quite the heated first matchup during the 2017-18 season between the Lakers and 76ers.