Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has played a major role in bringing back some excitement to the franchise. Be it his performance on the court, his choice of shoes, or his father, it seems that everyone is talking about Ball.
Leading into the NBA Draft, Ball was the most talked about player, and coming out of it, the same could be said. As it turns out, the numbers back this up.
According to Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight.com, Ball has been mentioned in more news stories than any rookie over the past five years:
“From May 1 to July 30, the quiet, mild-mannered floor general was mentioned in a whopping 702 mainstream, published news stories, according to Media Cloud, an open-source platform that tracks the contents of online news — by far the most of any top-five player drafted the last five years.”
What makes it more impressive is that no one is even close to Lonzo in this aspect. Only two other rookies have even been mentioned half as much as Lonzo: fellow 2017 rookie Markelle Fultz (436 mentions) and Andrew Wiggins in 2014 (381).
Wiggins was undoubtedly boosted by the trade rumors surrounding him after he was drafted and likewise, Ball has been helped by his father, LaVar, constantly making news himself. However, even when taking LaVar out of the picture, Lonzo remains at the top of the list:
“But even when you parse out the stories that are more focused on LaVar, Lonzo still stands alone as the NBA rookie who’s been written about most frequently these past five years, with 563 mentions in the media.”
A lot of factors have played into Ball’s popularity. As has been mentioned, Ball’s father certainly helps, but also his ongoing shoe free agency as well as being drafted by the Lakers, the NBA’s premier franchise helps the cause.
The question for Ball will now turn to whether he can keep up his level of play once the regular season games get going. If he truly is the transcendent star many believe he can be, this is only the beginning of the Ball coverage.