The Los Angeles Lakers are quietly trying to put out a fire burning in STAPLES Center in the form of LaVar Ball’s questionable postgame quotes. The franchise is now enforcing what arena employees are referring to as the “LaVar Ball” rule, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.
LaVar has spouted off about numerous things during the season, ranging from head coach Luke Walton being too “soft” to coach Lonzo Ball, to criticizing Julius Randle for not passing the ball up the floor to Lonzo in the final moments of regulation against the Golden State Warriors. Obviously he forgot the fact that Randle’s defense was the only reason the Lakers even had a defensive rebound to grab, but I digress.
LA is making an attempt to minimize the face time LaVar is getting with media directly after games, banning reporters from the “friends, family and agents” area once games are over.
The Lakers are denying that this is a move to get microphones and smart phones away from LaVar when emotions are still running hot after the final buzzer, telling ESPN that it’s “not a new policy” (via ESPN):
Family, friends and agents wait for players in the seats behind the basket closest to the visiting team's locker room at the conclusion of games. Interviews conducted in that designated area and near the tunnel leading to the arena corridors are now forbidden.
In prior years, media socialized and, at times, interviewed individuals in that sector without interference. If a media member is recognized in that area now, arena security or Laker staffers direct that he or she leave the area.
"It's not a new policy; it's an existing policy," a team spokesperson told ESPN. "There has been more media presence in that area than before. That section is strictly for family and guests of players. It's a privacy concern."
There has certainly been “more media presence than before,” and that’s because LaVar is there ready to give the next headline to anyone in shouting distance. Trying to act like it’s not a direct correlation is insulting the intelligence of anyone reading about the not-previously-enforced-but-now-suddenly-important policy.
Obviously the Lakers are trying to be delicate with the situation, something the franchise has done in the past regarding other matters linked to LaVar. We’ll see if this only emboldens Ball, and if fans feel a tinge of Streisand Effect as they realize the Lakers are trying to censor LaVar’s post-game quotes.
For those sick of hearing his rants and raves about the Lakers, this is probably a good thing. Will it stop Ball from having his voice heard? Doubtful. Strange times indeed.