Future NBA star Lonzo Ball continued to make his rounds on the afternoon shows on ESPN Thursday. On “Jump and Sports Nation,” Ball was asked how he reacted to LeBron James slightly mocking his shooting form.
Ball responded with the following:
“I have no problem with it,” he said according to USA Today. “That’s my favorite player growing up. He’s shooting like me, I’m not shooting like him, he’s shooting like me, so I smile.
“I’m not gonna lie, LeBron’s my favorite player. He is. I respect Kobe too.”
In an interview on ESPN’s “SportsNation” on Thursday, Lonzo Ball was asked if he would rather be a Los Angeles Laker or the No. 1 overall pick in next June’s NBA draft.
“I’m gonna go with the Lakers,” said the star UCLA point guard. “I’m just a family dude, all my family lives in L.A., so to be able to play in front of them, I think that would mean more to me.”
Ball’s perspective is understandable. He was born and raised in Southern California and attended nearby Chino Hills High School before going on to Westwood to play for UCLA.
The Lakers also have a decent chance of retaining their top-three protected lottery pick next June, and they are now run by one of the greatest point guards of all-time in Magic Johnson. And as Lonzo’s father LaVar has pointed out before, Magic would be an ideal mentor for Ball at the position.
But with the growing rivalry between Ball and fellow top prospect Markelle Fultz for No. 1 overall pick consideration, it’s an interesting window into Ball’s mindset heading into the last couple of months before the draft.
Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 3-pointers, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 36 games as a freshman at UCLA this past season. He scored a season-high 24 points against the Arizona Wildcats on Jan. 21.
In three games during the NCAA Tournament, Ball averaged 14.3 points 6.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 3-pointers. But he did only shoot 1-for-6 from behind the arc and scored just 10 points in the loss to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet 16.