The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves loosely tied to the FBI’s investigation into impermissible benefits provided by former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and Miller’s agency, ASM Sports, as documents implicated Kyle Kuzma during his time at the University of Utah.
Lonzo Ball, arguably the closest of any Lakers player to Kuzma, said he hadn’t noticed much of a change in his demeanor at Friday’s shootaround. “Whatever happened was in the past. Now he’s just living life,” Ball said.
As the scandal is sweeping through NCAA basketball programs, it’s re-ignited debate over whether student-athletes should be compensated beyond what’s provided through scholarship. But to Ball, who spent one season at UCLA, the answer is clear.
“All the money they generate for the programs, it’s kind of an unfair system,” he said. “All the money that you generate, March Madness, look at all the numbers. It doesn’t really add up in my opinion.”
Ball then went a step further, “Everybody knows everybody is getting paid. If everybody is getting paid anyway, you might as well just make it legal.” The Lakers rookie said he was exempt from that, however. “My dad is not big on that. Kind of just focused on going there and getting out,” Ball said.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton didn’t have a typical collegiate experience at the University of Arizona, because his family was in position to provide financial support, but Walton is well-aware most aren’t in that position.
“They bring in a lot of money for the universities,” Walton said of student-athletes. “But a lot of them are living on those scholarship checks, check-to-check, as far as paying rent and eating.
“To me, when there’s that much money involved, the players should be getting a bigger piece of that as far as being able to live in a nice play, go to a nice restaurant instead of just fast food type of places.
“Obviously, that’s a long story that you have to find a way to make it work. But at some level, yes, I think they should be getting paid.”
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB