The avalanche of criticism that has befallen the Ball family since Lonzo Ball set foot on UCLA’s campus last season as a freshman has been massive and perpetual.
But perhaps none of it has been as virulent as from UCLA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who recently ripped into LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Lonzo and freshman guard for the Bruins who was arrested and released on shoplifting charges during a team trip to China.
Abdul-Jabbar has also stated in the past that parents like LaVar Ball are bad for college basketball—because they’re turning the NCAA into a “huckster show.”
“It stained part of my legacy. I was offended by it,” Abdul-Jabbar said on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Wednesday. “I didn’t like seeing the program associated with shoplifting.”
While Abdul-Jabbar scoffed at Cowherd’s suggestion that Ball and his teammates who were involved in the shoplifting scandal be removed from the team, he didn’t mince words on his feelings about LiAngelo.
“I’d like to see some character,” he said. “One of the Ball kids has been driving a Ferrari to UCLA. This is disgusting. It sets a bad precedent for what the school is supposed to be about.”
Abdul-Jabbar in recent weeks has also expressed his disdain for “one-and-done” college players. During an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic, he specifically targeted Lonzo Ball’s outspoken father.
“Everybody knows about his sons because he has been able to hype them. But I don’t think that’s good for college basketball.”
He added, “College basketball is starting to look like a … it doesn’t look good. It looks like it’s a huckster show. And that bothers me, you know. You have people going those lengths to promote their kids. I don’t get it.”
“One-and-dones doesn’t make any sense to me,” continued Abdul-Jabbar. “To have somebody come and be on campus for 6 months and play a basketball season, what is that? It’s strange and it’s not good for the college game and it hasn’t been good for the pro game. I think they better find a different way of dealing with those issues. I don’t know exactly what that should be, but the way it is now is pretty pathetic.”