Paternity Test: LaVar Ball & Sports Dads Good and Bad

LaVar Ball, father of NBA-bound UCLA star Lonzo Ball and two talented high school ballers, has got himself plenty of press talking up his sons and engaging in slanging matches with NBA legends. But he's just the latest in a long line of sporting fathers who've inserted themselves into their prodigal children's careers. What can we, and he, learn from what's gone before?

“Just because you say some s**t, doesn’t make it right. He’s gonna be better than Steph Curry? ... Man, let me tell you something. That’s that AAU s—... I know you can be proud of your son, but at some point, it becomes stupidity,"
Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Famer

LaVar Bell says Lonzo is already better than Steph Curry

instagram embed goes here!

It doesn’t help, all this stuff with his father. I don’t know what is gained for the kid by putting that much pressure on him. [It's] going to be another thing to look at when it comes to due diligence before the draft. How does he handle his father?
An NBA General Manager on Ball

Damir Dokic: tennis tyrant

Father and coach of former world #4 Jelena Dokic, Damic Dokic was notorious for drunkenness and menacing others, and was ejected from numerous tennis tournaments. He was later jailed in Serbia after stockpiling an arsenal of weapons and homemade bombs.

Archie Manning: football patriarch

Archie Manning has the worst record of any NFL quarterback in history with 100 starts (26% winning percentage), but was well respected around the league for his guts and talent, as he was stranded on awful teams. That respect only grew via the careers of his sons Peyton and Eli, and the class Archie has shown, being supportive but not too hands-on with his sons.

Thomas Junta: killer hockey Dad

The worst epitome of a crazy sideline parent, Junta served several years in prison for manslaughter after getting into a fight and killing the referee of his son's pick-up hockey game.

Earl Woods: guiding golf's greatest

A Vietnam veteran and former college baseball catcher, Earl Woods shepherded the rise of his son Tiger from precocious youngster to the world's most transcendent athlete. The supportive, encouraging, loving bond between father and son was always clear to see. Unfortunately so was the downward spiral Tiger Woods suffered following Earl's death from cancer in 2006.

Richard Williams: controversial character

Like his daughters Serena and Venus, Richard Williams is a polarizing figure on the tennis circuit. Inspiring or overbearing? Nurturing or controlling? Whatever you think, Richard has always been there for his daughters, has a great relationship with them, and isn't abusive towards others (unlike many other tennis fathers, eg Dokic, Pierce, Graf and more)

Joe Bryant: raising a legend, for good and bad

Joe "Jellybean" Bryant was a very good pro basketballer, playing several seasons in the NBA and more in Europe, before becoming even more famous as the supportive father of five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant. Joe inspired Kobe's work ethic and passion for the game, without being an overbearing sports Dad. However later on in Kobe's NBA career, the pair's relationship hit some rocky patches, including a court case over memorabilia and management.

The monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn’t that good. They were OK, they was players ... Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that, that’s why he’s such a monster. LeBron, it’s gonna be so hard for his kids...
The monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn’t that good. They were OK, they was players ... Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn’t all that, that’s why he’s such a monster. LeBron, it’s gonna be so hard for his kids...
LaVar Ball on superstar fathers and sons, from Chris Broussard's podcast