Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, 19, has eclipsed his older brother Lonzo as the star of the family and become one of the NBA’s shining young talents. The youngest of the Ball brothers, LaMelo, was the youngest American to play pro ball overseas at 16 years old. He even dropped 36 points in one game while playing in the Lithuanian league, although his other big brother LiAnglelo doubled that output before returning to the States to capture Rookie of the Year honors this past season. And as the only one of the Ball trio to make a somewhat prep-to-pro move, LaMelo says he made the right play by forgoing college after all.
“You wanna go to the league, so school’s not your priority,” he explained in the latest issue of GQ Magazine. “We not trippin’ off school. We not dumb. We know how to learn.” But then he went further to suggest that the standard route to the pros, from high school and then through college, might be unnecessary. “We don’t need school,” Ball said. “And school not even teachin’ you (expletive) — what the (expletive) is school?”
Ball’s remark may irritate fans of higher education, and certainly not everyone is as talented as he is, but his stance carries some weight. If there’s anything of which the NCAA has been accused, it is not allowing its athletes to “get the bag” – while yet getting the bag off of them.
The NCAA recently made a landmark announcement with the change to its “name, image, and likeness” policy (NIL), now permitting college athletes to pursue alternate means of making money without compromising their eligibility. Plus, with other young talent bypassing the NCAA for paid international play and competitor organizations like Overtime Elite, athletes from various sports may consider disregarding the college path as well.
However, Ball did go on his own IG afterward and clarified that he didn’t want any beef with someone’s folks or for any other youth to use his name, image, and likeness as their reason for not going to college. “[L]et me rephrase that…” he wrote, “school not for EVERYBODY. now if u wanna be a doctor…BETTA TAKE THT ASS TO SCOO💀 so please don’t b going to ya mommas talkin bout some ion wanna do school ‘melo said u don’t need it’ when u not like that and not all the way invested in ya PLAN A which in my case was the (league).”
So will you let your kids take the LaMelo Ball route and skip college? Or do you think you’ll keep it old school and tell them they’d better “get off of Facebook and put their face in book”? Share your opinions below!