- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr compared LaVar Ball to the Kardashians and criticized society’s craving for “sensationalized news.”
- The comments came after Ball said the Los Angeles Lakers no longer want to play for head coach Luke Walton, prompting criticism from NBA coaches.
- Kerr questioned ESPN’s massive layoffs to several journalists while assigning reporters to cover the Ball family.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was the latest NBA coach to weigh in on LaVar Ball and the media coverage he has received.
Kerr’s comments came after Ball told ESPN in an interview that Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton had lost the team, saying players don’t listen to or want to play for Walton anymore.
The comments sparked outrage, with Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle telling reporters that ESPN should not cover Ball, particularly because the network is a partner with the NBA.
On Monday, Kerr offered an eloquent but scathing response to Ball’s comments, comparing Ball to the Kardashians and blaming today’s society for the interest in him.
“Where we’re going is we’re going away from covering the game and getting close to sensationalized news,” Kerr said. “It’s not even news really, it’s just complete nonsense. But if you package that irrational nonsense with glitter and ribbon, people are going to watch.”
Kerr then referenced to ESPN’s massive layoffs in the spring, saying they lost talented journalists, but are clearly still willing to spend the money to cover Ball, who is in Lithuania with his two sons as they prepare for their professional debuts.
“I’ve talked to people in the media this year. I say ‘Why do you guys have to cover that guy?’ They say they don’t want to, nobody wants to, but our bosses tell us we have to because of the ratings, because of the readership,” Kerr said.
“Somewhere, I guess this is in Lithuania, LaVar Ball is laughing at all of us. People are eating out of his hands for no apparent reason, other than he’s become like the Kardashians of the NBA, and I guess that sells and that’s what’s true in politics, in entertainment and now in sports. It doesn’t matter if there is any substance involved with an issue. It’s just, can we make it really interesting, for no apparent reason.”
Kerr also condemned the practice of interviewing players’ parents, which has often been a justification for covering Ball, as he could offer insight into his oldest son Lonzo, who is on the Lakers.
“Do you know how many parents of my players are sitting at home going, ‘Why isn’t he playing my kid?’ And yet, we’re sticking a microphone in his face because it apparently gets ratings,” Kerr said. “I don’t know who cares, but people care.”
Ball’s latest comments seem to have crossed a line for many people in the NBA. After Carlisle blasted ESPN, Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy threatened not to do any interviews with ESPN. Additionally, some NBA coaches reportedly want to ban media credentials to media members who interview Ball.
“It’s a societal issue. It’s been going on for many, many years,” Kerr said. “And it’s invading the sports world now.”