Lonzo Anderson Ball (born October 27, 1997) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for one season with the UCLA Bruins, earning consensus first-team All-American honors before the Lakers selected him with the second overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft.
As a high school senior at Chino Hills High School in 2016, Ball was awarded multiple national high school player of the year honors, and led his team to an undefeated record, as well as a national championship. As a college freshman in 2016–17, he led the nation in assists and broke the UCLA record for most assists in a season. He also won the Wayman Tisdale Award as the top freshman in the nation.
Early life Edit
Ball was born in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in Anaheim, California, to LaVar and Tina Ball, who were both former college basketball players. The 6-foot-6-inch (1.98 m) LaVar played at Washington State before transferring to Cal State Los Angeles, where the 6-foot (1.8 m) Tina was also playing. A two-sport athlete, LaVar also played American footballprofessionally for the London Monarchs in the World League of American Football.
Ball started playing basketball at the age of two. He grew up with his younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Until they reached high school, the trio played together on teams coached by their father. Ball played basketball at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California. As a junior in 2014–15, he averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 5 blocks, and 5 steals. In his senior year, he led the school to a 35–0 record and a state title, and the Huskies were ranked the consensus No. 1 team in the nation. His younger brothers, junior LiAngelo and freshman LaMelo, were also on the team. Ball averaged a triple-double with averages of 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game. He received national honors including the Naismith Prep Player of the Year, Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, USA Today Boys Basketball Player of the Year, and Mr. Basketball USA.
College career Edit
Ball was rated a consensus five-star recruit by the major scouting services. In November 2015, he signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and play for the Bruins. As a freshman in 2016–17, he was one of 50 players named to the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the top college player in the nation. Ball's vision and passing skills led UCLA's rise up the national rankings, as he and fellow freshman T. J. Leafhelped the Bruins bounce back from a 15–17 record from the year before. Ball led the nation in assists and transformed the Bruins into the top scoring offense in the country. In his first collegiate game against Pacific, he had 19 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. Later in the year, Ball was named the MVP of the Wooden Legacy tournament, after he led UCLA to a win over Texas A&M in the championship game. He remained on the Wooden Award list in midseason, when he was also joined by Leaf, as UCLA was one of just five schools with two candidates on the list.
In a 107–66 blowout win against Washington, Ball had 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists. With close to two dozen NBA executives in attendance, the game matched Ball against the Huskies' Markelle Fultz, who were among the nation's top point guards and projected to be among the top picks in the 2017 NBA draft.Fultz scored 25 points in an even matchup between the two freshman. In the Bruins' regular season finale, Ball had a career-high 14 assists in a 77–68 win over Washington State, when he also broke Gary Payton's 30-year-old Pac-12 season record for assists by a freshman. UCLA was seeded No. 3 in the NCAA Tournament, and won their opening game 97–80 over Kent State. Ball had 15 points and three assists to surpass Larry Drew II's school record for most assists in a season. In the second round, he flirted with a triple-double with 18 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists in a 79–67 win over Cincinnati. All of his assists came in the second half, when UCLA overcame a three-point halftime deficit after scoring a season-low 30 points in the first half. The Bruins were eliminated in the Sweet 16, losing 86–75 to Kentucky. Ball had 10 points, eight assists, and four turnovers in the loss, while Wildcats point guard De'Aaron Fox scored 39 points for an NCAA tournament freshman record. Ball strained his hamstring in the game and was limping in the second half, but did not offer it as an excuse for being outplayed. After the game, he announced that he would declare for the 2017 NBA draft, where he was generally projected to be a top-3 pick.
For the season, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.0 rebounds. He was the only player in the nation to average at least 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds, and was the first player in the conference since California's Jason Kidd in 1993–94 to average at least 14 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. His 274 assists also passed Kidd (272) for the second-most in a season by a Pac-12 player, behind only Ahlon Lewis (294) of Arizona State in 1997–98. Ball made 55.1 percent of his field goal attempts and 41.2 of his three-point attempts to become the first NCAA Division I player since 1992–93 to make at least 70 percent from 2-point range and 40 percent from 3-point range. He was a unanimous first-team All-American, earning honors from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and Sporting News. Additionally, he was awarded the Wayman Tisdale Award by the USBWA as the top freshman in the nation. Ball was the only freshman to be a finalist for the Wooden Award, Naismith College Player of the Year, and Oscar Robertson Trophy. He was also voted Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was named first-team All-Pac-12 along with teammates Leaf and Bryce Alford. He also received honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
College statistics Edit
Professional career Edit
Los Angeles Lakers (2017–present) Edit
On June 22, 2017, Ball was selected with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He would be the third rookie the Lakers would draft at #2 in a row behind Brandon Ingram and D'Angelo Russell, the latter of whom was traded on draft night. On July 3, he signed a four-year rookie scale contract with the Lakers. During the 2017 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Ball was the named the league MVP after averaging 16.3 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. He had two triple-doubles, the first in the Summer League since 2008 and the first ever in Vegas by a rookie. He had four games with 10 or more assists, becoming the first in league history to have more than 10 assists in more than one game; his 9.3 assist average was also a league record.
In his second game on October 20, 2017, he scored a career-high 29 points, to go along with 11 rebounds and 9 assists in a 132–130 win against the Phoenix Suns, falling one assist shy of becoming the youngest player to notch a triple double in NBA history. In the following contest, he had eight points, eight rebounds, and 13 assists in a 119–112 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to get at least 10 assists in a game. On November 11, he recorded 19 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds in a 98–90 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the youngest player to achieve a triple-double at the age of 20 years and 15 days old, breaking LeBron James's record by five days. Leading up to the game, Bucks' coach Jason Kidd, who Ball is often compared to, had called it "a stretch" to compare the two since it was too early in Ball's career. Ball, who had been struggling with his shooting, made over 50% of his field goals in a game for the first time in his career. On November 19, he recorded his second triple-double with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 127–109 win over the Denver Nuggets. It was the most rebounds by an NBA rookie guard since Steve Francis had 17 in 1999–2000. He also joined fellow NBA rookie Ben Simmons, as well as Magic Johnson, Connie Hawkins, Art Williams, and Oscar Robertson as the only players to record multiple triple-doubles within the first 20 games of their NBA careers.
Ball missed the team's Christmas game after spraining his left shoulder in the previous contest against the Portland Trail Blazers. His shooting had improved to 34.9 percent from the field and 29.7 percent on three-pointers after having made 44 percent of his field goals and 44.2 percent of his three-pointers in the seven games prior to the injury. He returned after missing six games, playing in five games before spraining the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee against the Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2018. Ball was expected to sidelined for one to three weeks.
Player profile Edit
Ball has an unorthodox jump shot whereby he moves the ball from his left hip to the left of his forehead. He rotates his right elbow in toward his chest until it reaches a 45-degree angle, when he shoots the ball towards the basket. He prefers to shoot jumpers while moving towards his left.
Ball began shooting in games from 40 feet (12 m) deep since he was a pre-teen. In college, he shot 3-pointers from beyond the NBA line, which was 4 feet (1.2 m) longer than the 19-foot-9-inch (6.02 m) college line. His go-to shot with time expiring was a step-back 3-pointer from deep.
Accomplishments and awards Edit
- Associated Press first-team All-American (2017)
- USBWA first-team All-American (2017)
- NABC first-team All-American (2017)
- Sporting News first-team All-American (2017)
- First-team All-Pac-12 (2017)
- Wayman Tisdale Award (2017)
- Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (2017)
- Pac-12 All-Freshman team (2017)
- Honorable mention Pac-12 All-Defensive Team
High school Edit
- Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2016)
- Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year (2016)
- USA Today Player of the Year (2016)
- Mr. Basketball USA (2016)
- McDonald's All-American (2016)
- Ballislife All-American (2016)
- Ballislife All-American Game MVP (2016)
- California Mr. Basketball (2016)
- Los Angeles Times Player of the Year (2016)
Ball began his pro career using sports apparel from his father LaVar's Big Baller Brand instead of signing with any of the three major apparel companies: Nike, Adidas or Under Armour. His father had insisted that he not sign with a company unless they agreed to license merchandise from Big Baller Brand. In May 2017, Big Baller Brand announced the release of Ball's first shoe, the ZO2. The $495 price tag on the shoe sparked wide criticism from celebrities and on social media. In response to his critics, LaVar tweeted on May 4, "If you can't afford the ZO2S, you're NOT a BIG BALLER!"
On December 20, 2017, Ball was announced as the logo for the Junior Basketball Association (JBA), a league his father LaVar plans to establish for high-school basketball basketball players who have finished high school but want an alternative option to the NCAA
Personal life Edit
Both of his younger brothers are basketball players: LiAngelo was a shooting guard for the UCLA Bruins and LaMelo was the star point guard at Chino Hills High School. Due to controversies at their schools, they bypassed college to play professionally. His brothers began their pro careers together in Lithuania with Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas in 2018.
In August 2017, Ball and his family premiered in their Facebook reality show, Ball In The Family. Ball is currently in relationship with soccer player Denise Garcia, his school sweetheart. The couple are expecting their first child together.
In September 2017, Lonzo Ball released his first official rap single, recording it alongside Kenneth Paige. "Melo Ball 1" is an ode to his 16-year-old brother, LaMelo Ball. In October 2017, Lonzo Ball released another rap single, titled "Super Saiyan", which is a nod to the hit Anime and Manga series Dragon Ball Z. In the track he compares himself to Goku the main protagonist of DBZ.
On February 15. 2018, Ball and his father would participate in the Lip Sync Battle as competitors. That same day, Ball released his debut album, Born 2 Ball, under the name Zo. The album would be released under the Big Baller Music Group, a subsidiary of the Big Baller Brand, run by a close friend of his father.