Lavar Ball: Building An Empire While Inside an Empire

Will Stevenson

In 2017, things are different.  In this capitalist society, maximizing your value is something every one of us should strive to do.  In all honesty, we don’t want others to maximize their value.  We want them to go through the “proper channels” and only behave the way we want them to.  Most of us weren’t born with the talent to dictate our own financial prowess.  Most of us work jobs, have managers, a boss that tells us when and where to be, how to act, and what our value is.  I must admit there is something that rises up in us when we see someone “buck the trend” of business and/or sport protocol.  When we see someone else have the power, instead of reveling in their presence or linking up with them to become stronger as a brand, we cut them down so they can be on our level. Sad is it not?

Lavar Ball is building an empire inside of an empire, which belongs to college basketball and the NBA.  Lavar Ball has helped himself to any news outlet to profess the greatness of his three sons.  Three sons.  We loved the Mannings, the Gronkowskis, but we don’t like the Balls.  Why?  In a sports world in which a collegiate athlete is drafted to a particular team instead of being able to choose a team of their own, being able to dictate the terms is almost impossible. For Lavar Ball, he must be able to dictate what he can, and continue to push the envelope.

Ball has spoken on how he wants his oldest to play for the Lakers.  He wants his son to stay in California, be close to home.  That actually sounds like something that would be a great idea, knowing the further away Lonzo Ball is away from his father, the easier it is to be pulled from his influence.  Ball has also spoken of building a brand with his sons: shoes, apparel, all the like.  We know the competition with Under Armor, Nike, Adidas, Jordan and Reebok would crush the competition, but why not try to infiltrate the system.  Every business out there is going to attempt to sink their marketing teeth into the Ball family, so it would be in Lavar’s best interest to do that himself.

As sports fans, we hate meddling parents.  We want those meddling parents to stay out-of-the-way and let coaches do their jobs.  Lavar has been slashed in almost every comment section there is for his interviews.  We always say others should avoid the spotlight, so if there were to be a downfall there wouldn’t be so much damage from the media.  Who can avoid the spotlight though?  The same people criticizing Lavar Ball are the same ones leaving comments on ESPN or on twitter hoping someone of importance reads it.  How ironic right?  Don’t let the fact that the Ball family is better at basketball than most of us let that cloud our hopes for their success.

We keep saying the fathers of this nation are lacking.  We keep reiterating that parents should be raising their children, not the system.  We continue to tell our children they can be anything, and they do always have to go the regular route.  If a relationship between a father and his sons is such that a father has the knowledge to navigate the sports business world, then we should all get behind the father and his sons.  Leagues such as the NBA, NFL, and MLB make it almost impossible for an athlete to do their own marketing, or choose another brand that isn’t sponsored by said league.

Maybe they all make it in the NBA.  Maybe none of them do.  Who cares?  What Lavar Ball has been able to accomplish up to this point is nothing short of amazing.  We don’t like what he says or how he goes about it, but we cannot dismiss his accomplishments because we are too busy stuck in our insecure feelings.


2016-2017 College Basketball Season Preview:

By Billy Clemmons

  1. Duke is no stranger to the preseason No. 1 ranking and is a near mainstay in the preseason top five. This year, the Blue Devils get that designation because they are the most talented team in the country, led by the best player in the country, and accompanied by the best freshmen class in the country.

  2. As always with Kentucky, the freshmen are the story. The fun starts with Malik Monk. Fans got a preview of his freakish athleticism last week at the team’s Blue/White scrimmage. Monk, a 6’3 combo guard, is ranked as the No. 9 incoming recruit in the country by ESPN, but is still just the third-highest rated Kentucky recruit this year.

  3. If Kansas is going to live up to its potential, it is going to start with Graham. The guard was named all-Big 12 in the preseason and seems to have accepted the role of leader on the team. He’s added muscle, worked on his shot, and, according to the Kansas City Star, added a mid-range floater. If it all translates into game play, there will be no shortage of ways Graham can beat you.

  4. Villanova’s run was so thoroughly dominant and ended on such a picture-perfect note that it’s fair to wonder how any team could follow it. Arcidiacono is gone, as is interior anchor Daniel Ochefu, but many of last year’s critical cogs remain. Quietly, Villanova has won more games than any program in the country over the last three years.

  5. Oregon won’t be catching anyone by surprise this year. The Ducks bring back three of their four leading scorers, return a key guard from injury, add another impact JUCO transfer and unveil a trio of four-star freshmen that has the program thinking big. Oregon hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1939 and this team is absolutely good enough to do it.


  6. Paige and Johnson are now gone, but Carolina remains in a unique position to thrive because of the values of the program. While blue-blood contemporaries like Duke and Kentucky rely on another influx of stud freshmen, UNC has veteran replacements lined up. The commitment to four-year players is what sets North Carolina apart, and it should pay major dividends again this season.

 7. Xavier returns the biggest pieces from a 28-6 team that ranked in the top 25 of both offensive and defensive efficiency. Xavier has star power, it has shooting, and it has a team that will again compete on both ends of the floor.

 8. Bennett has an experienced returnee at arguably the most important position on the court for his system, and an All-ACC caliber transfer to help make up for the front-court losses. Toss in a couple of other veterans expected to take a step forward and one of the highest-rated recruiting classes in Virginia history, and you have all the makings of a team with the potential to make it back to a regional final and seal the deal this time.

 9. Nigel Hayes is the headliner of the group as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. The key for the 6’8 forward will be polishing his Swiss army knife repertoire and returning to the offensive efficiency efforts of his sophomore campaign. Last season, Hayes connected on only 37 percent of his field goals and shot just 29 percent from the arc. For Wisconsin to reach its potential, Hayes has to live up to his billing as the Big Ten’s best player.

 10. There remains a strong group of veterans here with Arizona, starting with sophomore shooting guard Allonzo Trier. The No. 12 recruit in the RSCI a year ago, Trier is a natural-born bucket-getter. His 14.6 points per game were second among all Pac-12 freshmen, and he did it on an efficient 60.3 true shooting percentage — No. 10 in the conference regardless of class. Trier excels at drawing fouls and can knock down threes (36.4 percent); his next step is developing as a playmaker.

 11. That long sought-after trip past the Sweet 16 could come this March thanks to a handful of key returnees who are expected to blossom into full-fledged stars. Yogi Ferrell, one of the most beloved and effective players in recent IU history, and Troy Williams, one of the most gifted, have both moved on, but Crean has the pieces in play to have an even deeper and more complete team than he had a year ago.

 12. Izzo loaded up with the biggest and highest-rated haul of freshmen that he’d ever been able to bring to East Lansing. Leading that group is explosive 6’7 forward Miles Bridges, who will be relied upon to shoulder a heavy chunk of the Spartan scoring load right out of the gate. A consensus top 10 player in the 2016 class, Bridges could easily wind up following in Davis’ footsteps by spending just one season playing for Izzo. Fellow top 40 recruits Nick Ward, Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston should also compete for starting spots, or at least considerable playing time, from day one.

  13. Even with new faces, this should be a classic Louisville team defined by full-court pressure defense hellbent on forcing turnovers. Pitino needs impressive athletes on the perimeter for that system to work and he should have a pair in sophomore wings Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel. Though both had small roles last year, each can be found on basically every list of breakout players heading into the new season.

 14. Gone are last season’s top three scorers in Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis, and Eric McClellan, but waiting in the wings are transfers Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington), Jordan Mathews (Cal), and Johnathan Williams III (Missouri). Add a healthy Przemek Karnowski and the Bulldogs have a lineup filled with all-league talent.

 15. The front court will once again be the strength of the team. Expectations for this season changed when Caleb Swanigan decided to return for his sophomore year rather than enter the NBA draft. Arguably the most decorated recruit in program history, Swanigan was a beast on the glass as a freshman (No. 20 in defensive rebound rate, per KenPom) while shooting 52 percent on two-pointers. He’ll carry a bigger offensive burden this season and should be the team’s primary scoring option.

 16. Lonzo Ball, one of the more unique talents that college basketball will have seen in some time. Ball’s talents will allow the Bruins to play a different style than the one which has frustrated fans in The Hills for the last three years. If it works, Alford could finally be able to shed the stigma of a coach who has been uniformly promoted despite having never coached in a regional final.

 17. The good news for coach Randy Bennett and company is that Saint Mary’s will be fielding essentially the same team this season as the one that went 29-6 in 2015-16. The Gaels return 98.8 percent of their scoring from last season, losing only freshman guard Franklin Porter — who transferred to play for his father, Terry, at Portland — and his 1.5 points per game.

 18.The good news for UConn fans is that Ollie’s work on the recruiting trail has the program in position to again be in the national conversation. The Huskies welcome the country’s No. 8 recruiting class this year, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Alterique Gilbert. The class also includes 6’11 big man Juwan Durham, 6’8 shooter Vance Jackson, and bouncy forward Mamadou Diarra. It’s a badly needed talent infusion for a team that lost its best player (Daniel Hamilton) and two other starters.

 19. Syracuse lost its three leading scorers from a team that advanced all the way to the Final Four a season ago.There’s no guarantee that Syracuse will advance to the season’s final weekend like they did a year ago, but this 2016-17 squad ought to be able to piece together a more even and complete season.

 20.West Virginia returns a team loaded with talent and potential, but without a clear go-to option in the clutch.That’s not to say that beating next year’s West Virginia team will be any easier than a weekend with the in-laws

 21. Whether a team this young can win right away is up for debate, but there’s no question Smart has Texas trending in an exciting direction. This sleeping giant might not be sleeping for much longer.




















From ESPN to Fox: Sloppy Seconds Anyone?

By Will Stevenson
Usually when an entity or organization monopolizes the industry, they buy everyone out and only leave you with a few choices here and there to receive their content. Whether it’s a television service, a phone company or an auto parts store, they make sure that all other options don’t come close to matching the resources they have acquired. When we look at the ESPN empire, they have definitely monopolized the industry, but they have somehow allowed their viewers and listeners to access every possible sports niche there is to offer. It seems as if ESPN Radio has landed in every major city nationwide, and locked in every state with at least a station or two that is affiliated with ESPN. Over the years the ESPN Network has had it’s share of Sportscenter hosts, analyst, guests, shows, and radio hosts, but what they have been able to do is replace the faces with no drop-off in ratings or growing power. With their partnership, or being owned by Disney, those that leave ESPN are able to move to CBS, NBC, and ABC seamlessly. Over the past few years, when the contracts go into their final year, the rumors begin to surface and individuals begin to look for work elsewhere; but where else could they go that would have the same shine as ESPN.
And that’s where Fox comes in.
It seems as though Fox has been on the outside looking in when it comes to sports content, although they do have Fox NFL Sunday that usually brings the NFC contenders to table every week. The last time I watched something on a Fox network was “The Best Damn Sports” show and “The Man Show” on FX. If you’ve every watched a show on FX, then you are aware they bend the lines of censorship for mainstream television. The things they are able to show and get away with are very different from what ESPN can do now that they are under Disney’s supervision. After Colin Cowherd’s contract and “ethnic misquote” combined for the right fire, Fox was more than willing to take him on. The Le Batard Show, based out of Miami, slid into his 10am to 1pm time slot and haven’t missed a beat. One person leaves, another shows up and everything keeps rolling. Fox has been trying for years to match the level ESPN has reached, but haven’t been able to take over in numbers, viewers, mentions and downloads. Fox has been able to throw money at previous ESPN employees and provide an atmosphere that will allow them to have less censorship and more freedoms with their shows.
Can Fox grow their brand of talking heads to the heights of ESPN while doing the same exact thing ESPN has done and is already doing? Probably not, but all it takes are a few gasbags saying the right things and the right people paying attention. Television viewers are one thing, but clicks and downloads are something totally different in this social media driven world we now live in.

I seriously think you should jump on this wave!

By Lawrence Edwards

OK, before I get started let me tell you that this isn’t a fad that will quickly fade out, nor is it a get rich quick scheme. It’s simple, I am not forcing you or trying to persuade you to do anything. I just want to share with you something that I know sports enthusiasts every where will enjoy and offer you the opportunity to be apart of something or get ahead of everyone else on a trend that is about to take the world by storm. From Football to Cricket we have something every sports will fall in love with. You have two options: Affiliate or Player. I will go in to great detail about both and most importantly the coming of a game changing sports app by United Games that is going to absolutely blow your mind!

Now what we are talking about here is an app that will let you enjoy your favorite sport interactively while watching the game. This app is going to bring a new dynamic way of playing of enjoying sports. It’s not just going to focus on the major sports but every sport.  The point is to get everyone to enjoy sports better, not just the people who have time for drafts and 4 different fantasy leagues or the ones who are good at selecting the right combination of players in order to enjoy the experience.

Now, as I previously mentioned you have two options to join this wave, either as a player or an affiliate. If you want to just be one of the first to enjoy the experience of this game changing app then sign up as a player for free. You will be a pre-registered player and once the app launches within the next 5 weeks you can begin enjoying your interactive sports experience and start earning some rewards and points. I don’t know about you but once I started playing fantasy football and basketball, the game became THAT much more interesting to me. I began to pay attention to things that I didn’t before. This interactive app will award every real sports fan the same experience but much better – did I mention that some of EA Sports former developers are building this thing? – Get ahead of the trend, this app is coming and it’s going to change the way we enjoy sports forever and it will be the first of it’s kind, share it with your neighbors, share it with your family, if they love sports, chances are they will love this!

Now if you are interested in becoming an affiliate of United Games and getting the opportunity to not only get ahead of the trend but earn some money while doing it, then this the route you want to go. Now let me tell you this isn’t a pyramid scheme or something wild like that, if you don’t want to be an affiliate then you don’t have to. We aren’t trying to recruit people for money, we are just offering an opportunity to earn some income based off of people just playing the game. Now when this was brought to me a few weeks ago I had my initial negative thoughts. I was told that I can become an affiliate for free, feel it out see if I like it and if I do I would have to pay a one time fee of $30 to stay an affiliate and $9.99 a month to maintain my affiliate site and if I don’t just simply cancel no harm done. Now I’m no easy person to convince to join things, so I did my own research before I agreed to sign up for anything. Now I hate selling things, I’m terrible at it, so the fact I didn’t have to sell a product and it was an app – I’m a huge tech junkie – helped me decide to really read up on it. So I did my research and found that this app could really be something special and I don’t have to pay my fee until the app launches in 4-5 weeks at the time of this writing. I figured, what can I lose? I can jump on board playing a new fantasy app and maybe earn some money while doing it. Every time you share the app and someone signs up, whether as an affiliate or a player, and starts buying or earning tokens, you get a piece of the pie, NICE! Another selling point for me was the fact that in order for you to earn income you have to fill out tax form 1099. That right there let me know it was legit. Now United Games is offering this opportunity only up until the app launches in 5 weeks. Once it goes live, the affiliate opportunity will be no longer offered. You will only be able to download and use the app.

Whether you sign up to be a player or an affiliate I can assure you that this app is going to change your sporta experience. The point of this blog is to get the word out that a Giant is coming and to offer, what I believe to be a grand opportunity to be apart of the next big thing. If you like what you heard here today feel free to drop a comment, email me ( or if you got here through my Facebook link, just shoot me a DM and I will happily send you a link to be an affiliate or a free player so you will be all set to go when the app launches. Once you click the link there will be more information for you to read through to get an even better understanding. You’re going to love this!

Here is a one page info sheet you can look at to get more information. Feel free to contact me with questions.


Should College Student Athletes Get Paid?



Just let that question sink in for a minute. I also want you to imagine you grew up as a poor to middle class kid, and you knew that college wasn’t affordable at a young age. Then during high school because you’re a great athlete you were offered a full ride scholarship. Now your happy and can pursue your dreams. Now, imagine you’re at school hungry because you don’t have enough money to get food.


Remember in 2014 NCAA Basketball championship game that UCONN men’s team won. Shabazz Napier was talking to the world about how excited he was to be on a winning team, then he dropped the ball on how he was hungry all the time because he didn’t have enough money to cover food. Well shortly after that speech the NCAA agreed on that any athlete scholarship or walk on will have unlimited meals. It took one speech in front of millions of people watching to make that change. Yes, this is great for division one athletes all over the United States, but what if Napier never told the world he was going to bed hungry on live television?

Over the years, I have discussed with people should student athletes get paid? Everyone I had spoken to said Yes. I have to agree with who I spoke to. Universities, especially big ones, make millions of dollars off players. What do players get? Food and shelter. (Some will say that is all they need). That is where you are wrong. People need more than food and shelter, they need grooming supplies, toilet paper, clothes, shoes and other things for everyday life. How are athletes supposed to get any of this if they are at school full-time and always at practice? This is why they need to get paid. I am not talking about making them rich but give them enough to get by.

The Universities should be able to give athletes a weekly or bi-weekly allowance to these kids. Put the money on some type of bank or debit card. Give them a set amount and if the student spends it all in that day that is on them. They should talk to a local store, Wal-Mart or gas station that is near the school to allow the students to shop there using this card. This way students and their parents know their child can provide for themselves. This would help stop some of the shady stuff that Universities do to recruit a kid to their school.

Just think about this, would you be able to send money to your kid every time they need something? Or would you feel better knowing that they are taken care for everything? The NCAA needs to change something for these athletes or they will keep going through this never-ending cycle for a long time.

Jimmer Fredette: The Search for the Great White Buffalo

By Will Stevenson

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Jimmer Fredette poses for a portrait during the BYU men’s basketball media day at the Marriott Center Wednesday October 13, 2010.


You ever remember going to your local gym and you see that that one white guy out there running with the rest getting buckets and crossing people over? Well, this is that guy.

So last week was a slow week in the world of sports for myself; Free Agency had pretty much wrapped up, the NFL season is still a few weeks away, I don’t watch baseball, and the Espy’s took over the sports world. With the civil unrest in this country and the continuing back and forth between us humans on social networks, which is none to my surprise, I was just looking for something to watch in sports Sunday night. So there I was, watching Summer League Basketball, which doesn’t make me feel so great as I get older. The Summer League is just a reminder that I am getting older by the minute, especially when I see David Lighty (Ohio State) on a team. So I’m watching the Nuggets, and something began to grab my attention, the faint chant of… “Jimmer! Jimmer! Jimmer! Jimmer!”

There’s only Jimmer, I know in the NBA world, and that happens to be the 6’2″ undersized shoot first combo guard out of BYU. Jimmer Fredette is considered a “Great White Buffalo” by my sports standards. What are those qualities:

  1. White
  2. Perceived as non-athletic
  3. Shooter
  4. Undersized
  5. Played in a Non-Power conference is a plus
  6. Skilled
  7. Captivates the white audience

Now you might say, “You shouldn’t stereotype white guys who play basketball! That’s racist!” You’re wrong on so many levels, as well as the fact that white people love to cheer for the white guy playing in a league dominated by non-white-American players. Let’s not make an issue out of this one, it’s too obvious to ignore. Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki are white, but they’re foreign players. Steve Nash is from Canada, which should be close enough, but not even he gets claimed by Americans. You see a white guy on a basketball court and you automatically think, “He’s a shooter, he has to be a shooter.” One thing to remember is we’ve been in enough gyms, seen enough college basketball to realize that most white guys are better at basketball than we think. We’ve all made the “White Men Can’t Jump” mistake when picking teams for pickup basketball. Yes, our brains are warped; We think all black guys are good at basketball, and the white guys are not, but if they are then they are shooters and slow.

Jimmer Fredette suffered from what I like to call the “Tim Tebow effect”. There are levels of TTE in sports and Jimmer suffered from this ism. He was white, which definitely puts you in this category. He was actually good. He was popular and a fan favorite in every arena. Last but least, they are good, but if you build a team around them you will certainly fail. We were all in high school once, so we all remember the white guy on the basketball team that was known to be good, but never got any run on the team because the others were just better. What we don’t remember is that white guy would get eaten up on defense during practice, which we never got to witness. He is also the guy that comes in the game during blowouts with about 2:00 left in the game while everyone in the gym is chanting his name and goes wild every time he takes a shot. In professional sports, you love to see this guy make it, because the American-born basketball star is a novelty in the NBA. You have your Jason Williams, Mike Miller, Brad Miller, JJ Reddick, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek, Tyler Hansbrough, Chris Mullin, Kevin Love etc… You can’t ignore there is something special for the fans when they have a white star to cheer for, and like others and the Kings, we thought Jimmer would be the next electric star in the NBA.

When Jimmer Fredette was drafted in 2011 by the Kings via trade, it was well known that he was a scorer, but the rhetoric was also that he was “sneaky athletic”: That’s code language for he’s pretty good for a white guy. If you were watching Jimmer at BYU, he was not sneaky athletic or just a shooter as JJ Reddick was typecast. Jimmer was at the top of the key, playing hero ball mostly, shooting from ‘Steph Curry’ range and running the pick and roll to a science while taking it to the rim relentlessly. Although he was short, he was stocky and had a nice body build for a combo guard who would have to play the Point Guard in the NBA. But as most guards in college realized once you get to the NBA, the talent pool is now shrinking and every time you play, as well as your teammates is now Duke, Kentucky, Louisville on steroids. Jimmer could always shoot, but a shoot-first point guard at 6’2″ isn’t something every GM wants on their team. Which boggles my mind because the Kings took him at the 10th pick, a lottery pick, traded to them from the Bucks, and why else would you take him if you didn’t want him to do what he did best at BYU.

That did not happen, obviously, seeing as Jimmer has bounced around the league with various teams which was topped by being the D-League All-star Game MVP while averaging 21 pts, 4.4 rpg and 5 ast per game. Jimmer Fredette suffered from what many players who are standouts in college face in the league: Undersized, out of position on offense and defense, and the talent level is just too good for them to overcome the pecking order on teams.

Was it because he was white? Probably not. Would it have been nice to see him succeed in the league? Yes. Would the white fan base have cheered him harder than say… Ben Mclemore? Yes. From what we’ve seen in the NBA, Jimmer suffered from being an undersized combo guard that could not run an NBA offense and teams weren’t willing to wait around to build their offense around him while also being a liability on defense. It would’ve been nice to see Jimmer average 21 ppg in the league, but for a brief moment in Summer League he was able to captivate the crowd one more time.


Penalties Loom For UNC Program

By Billy Clemmons

Over a year ago allegations surfaced of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina. The school went so far as to hire its own team for a independent investigation of it’s own. The Wainstein report as it’s known Goes back almost 20 years and involves more than 3100 students.

The report determined that UNC had indeed set up African and Afro-American classes to help the students keep up a grade point average by a lack of admistrative oversight. A year ago the College said it was a university issue and the classes were for all students needing a better GPA so does that fall on the athletic department?

The University must reply to the notice of allegations by the NCAA and has a time frame in which to respond. So whats taking so long for the penalties to be handed down? Well even though the charges could go back as far as 1993  the first amended allegations changed to the start of 2002 and has been changed to 2005.

Was it a coincidence that the Tarheels won the championship that year? This leads us to a player who will not be named going public saying he took paper classes and Coach Roy Williams knew about it also and also playing on that Championship team but yet was not filed in the NCAA allegations.

Among athletes that took courses that required no work, 51 percent were football players, 12 percent men’s basketball and 6 percent women’s basket ball. With all this being said what’s taking so long for the penalties to be handed down?

This will be the second investigation for the UNC program in under a decade handing down sanctions to the football program in 2010. They reopened the case as more allegations came to the surface. Is this investigation so complex that it’s hard to figure out or the NCAA trying to cover themselves by because they were not thorough enough in the original investigation. We have more questions then answers in what will sure to be a major black eye for the program.

Coach Roy Williams has been on record saying his basketball team will not be penalized and his program had nothing to do with academic fraud. I would like to believe he is telling the truth and the program doesn’t suffer but it doesn’t look good. I guess all the fans can do is wait on what could be one of the biggest scandals of this decade or a slap on the wrist but I will remain a Tarheel to the very end.