If you’ve followed the Ball family throughout the years, you know the way the media has portrayed each of the three brothers. Their show on Facebook, “Ball in the Family”, always subtly assigned each of them roles. Lonzo, who was already in the league when the show was gaining popularity, was the mature older brother. LiAngelo was always sort of the quiet rebel who just did his own thing. Then there was LaMelo who was given the image of an immature young kid who always had to be the class clown.
This is funny but I hope scoring wont be a problem for LaMelo Ball even though I still wish he would have learned from Lonzo & changed his shot before coming into the NBA.— Bishop&Pastor RW: The True Body of Christ Restored (@Bishop_PastorRW) December 13, 2020
That time when Melo capped on Lonzo for scoring 0 points... pic.twitter.com/cy0zCUZ3Yy
There was nothing wrong with it, but the general consensus was that he was always just a little bit immature for his age. LaMelo was constantly making light of every situation and was always the comedian of the family. Whether it was cracking jokes on the bench in Lithuania or running away screaming after crossing up Lonzo, he never took things super seriously. Well, let it be known that this storyline is completely true - but in the best way possible.
The Hornets have played two preseason games now and Ball has been the star of the show. He has more social media followers than the team does, and everyone in the world wants to see what he can do. His passing ability is amazing and he finally scored some points in the Hornets’ second game of the preseason, but neither of those things are the reason he’s so special. Ball is single-handedly going to change the way the game is played, and it’s all because of his attitude.
LaMelo Ball’s first three in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/CHPfI2rQzG— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 15, 2020
These past five to ten years or so of basketball have been all about being the “it guy”. Whether it’s putting on a tough-guy face after sinking a big shot or “mean mugging” the camera after a highlight dunk, there’s this idea that a player should remain stone-faced in the wake of success. Just look at some of the best players in the NBA - Damian Lillard after his shot against the Thunder, Giannis Antetokounmpo after any dunk he ever does, Devin Booker after his game-winner in the bubble - all of them keep a straight face. Well Ball scored his first points in an NBA jersey the other day, and what did he do right after? He smiled and laughed with his teammates on the bench.
Whenever Ball smiled after a play it was absolutely infectious. It not only made his teammates smile, but every single fan watching the game at home had to have had a huge grin on their face to see the rookie having a blast. His first basket was a corner three and you could see the giddiness in his face after it fell. The bench was cheering for him and he didn’t even try to hold his smile back. After every lob and every great play he made in the first two preseason games, there was always a smile on his face afterwards.
Terry Rozier on @hornets’ LaMelo Ball: “I’ve never seen a rookie as happy as him....He lights up the locker room.”— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 11, 2020
As a kid playing basketball, whenever you saw the ball go through the hoop you smiled. It was like this irresistible urge to be happy for yourself. There was always a little feeling deep down begging you to just smile, but everyone wanted to look cool in front of the other kids so no one actually smiled. His teammates have even taken notice of his extremely positive attitude, with Terry Rozier saying he’s “never seen a rookie as happy as him.” All Ball cares about is having fun doing what he loves, and being the absolute best player he can be while doing that.
Maybe Ball can finally show that not everyone has to make a super serious face whenever they do something spectacular. It’s okay to be happy with your own success; you don’t have to try and act cool for everyone. The best part about it all, though, is getting to watch; because seeing him get so giddy after he scored his first points has been the highlight of the entire NBA preseason, and it’s not even close.