Coach Gary Edwards Column 12/16/17
Although I did take note of his son’s Chinese shoplifting expedition, I have tried to avoid thinking about the patriarch of the Ball basketball family, LaVar Ball, and the Big Baller Brand.
Kind of like when you avoid thinking of a hemorrhoid. You hope if you just ignore it, it will go away.
LaVar Ball may not be going away, but his two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, certainly are. It seems their father signed them up to play professional basketball in Lithuania starting in January.
They are going to play professional basketball in the Lithuanian Basketball League for the club Prienai Vytautas. Prienai is a small town of about 10,000 people located on the Neman River.
Believe it or not, I have been there. About 15 years ago, when I was the coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I developed a coaching contact in Lithuania.
When my wife and I had to go to England for a wedding, I decided to fly from London to the capital city of Vilnius on Lithuanian Airlines. I still have a sugar packet and a napkin from that flight to prove it.
My coaching contact picked me up from the airport and drove me around the country to see young basketball prospects. I remember the starkness; it looked like a stereotypical Cold War country.
There were a lot of people hitchhiking along the roadway. The gyms were small and dark. The basketball players were talented.
I went to the home of one of these players and his father did not speak any English, but I understood he wanted to toast my arrival with a shot of whisky. So we toasted my arrival, and we toasted my good health, and before long I was toasted.
But that night I remember we went to see some professional players, the type guys LiAngelo, 19, and LaMelo, 16, will be playing with and against in the Lithuanian Basketball League.
They were men. Hairy chested men. They played rough and they played dirty.
LaMelo doesn’t even have any hair on his face yet. LiAngelo has a little goatee, but believe me, he and his brother are going to have a hard time lining up with these hairy chested men.
These two kids will be a long way from California. Give them a week or two and I bet they will have a greater appreciation for the United States of America.
And where will their father be? Will he join his sons in Lithuania?
If he does it will be interesting to see the Lithuanian treatment for hemorrhoids.
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