Lonzo has ball at pushy dad's expense in Foot Locker commercial


Lavar Ball, father of NBA draft prospect Lonzo Ball, congratulates his son after a game at UCLA. (Associated Press photo).

Lavar Ball, father of NBA draft prospect Lonzo Ball, congratulates his son after a game at UCLA. (Associated Press photo).

It’s cooler than Cindy Crawford’s Pepsi commercial, better than Mean Joe Greene’s Coca Cola commercial, more memorable than Larry Bird and Michael Jordan shooting h-o-r-s-e, tougher to shake than the Alka Seltzer plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is jingle.

It’ll cure your Excedrin Headache No. 39, saving you the trouble of swallowing pills.

If not for that fried-egg spot — “This is your brain . . . this is your brain on drugs” — it would rank as the greatest commercial ever filmed.

It’s a Foot Locker “Father’s Day” advertisement and it’s so much more than that. It’s a brilliant marketing scheme that is bound to get UCLA one-and-done sensation Lonzo Ball the fair shake he deserves in next week’s compelling NBA draft. It gives him the separation from his father he so needs and just in the nick of time.

Lavar Ball has attempted to turn his oldest son into a piece of merchandise to be manipulated however he sees fit.

The sane son fights back in a brilliant Father’s Day commercial featuring four one-and-done players expected to go among the first seven picks in next Thursday’s draft. Jonathan Isaac (Florida State), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Jayson Tatum (Duke) and Ball appear in it. Kansas’ Josh Jackson, Washington’s Markelle Fultz and Kentucky’s Malik Monk, also projected to go early in the draft, are not in the commercial.

Isaac, Fox and Tatum share quick thoughts on memories of their fathers.

“All those games of one-on-one in the driveway where he’d let me win,” Fox says with a smile.

An appreciative Tatum says, “Just never missing a game.”

And then Lonzo Ball bleeds painful memories: “Of course there’s that big day when your dad berates your high school coach in front of an entire crowd for not getting you enough touches.”

Said Isaac: “Waking up early to drive to far-away tournaments.”

Then Ball: “Or that special moment when your dad sits you down and tells you where you’re going to college, copyrights your name to make it part of a family lifestyle brand, went on First Take and shouted back and forth with Stephen A. Smith about how you’re already better than the reigning league MVP. All those interviews from the stands during college games. The public spats with the all-time greats. Sound byte after sound byte to the national media. And then tells 29 out of 30 teams to not bother drafting you.”

Nice chin music. I hope every overbearing sports dad sees that commercial and sees himself in it. Better chance of winning the lottery on back-to-back weeks.

Foot Locker released a statement quoting Lonzo as saying, “My dad and I both love the humor of the spot, and I’m glad I got to have a little fun around the topic before going to the league.”

I thought I read a little pain in Lonzo’s expression, but maybe that was just the power of suggestion. Either way, Lonzo speaks far more loudly and my guess would be more from the heart in the commercial than in the corporate statement.

It was impressive of a 19-year-old to lay it all out there for the world to see and hear, no matter whose idea it was. No denial. No walking on eggshells around the issue of the dad. If Lonzo’s agent thought this up, give the man a standing ovation. Nothing could do a more effective job of shrinking concerns that drafting the son means drafting the father too.


Dale Rogers 11 months, 1 week ago

Sorry, Keegan, but I'll take the Cindy Crawford commercial. It's a bit blase' today but at the time it was stunning. Every time the commercial aired, every guy I know instantly stopped whatever he was doing and watched that commercial.

Tracey Graham 11 months, 1 week ago

It's a very funny commercial.

But it is also a clear attempt by the Ball family to try and make both Lonzo and LaVar more likable by having them show they can make fun of LaVar's often overbearing behavior. LaVar Ball had to sign off on this. And it is a SCRIPTED commercial. It's not Lonzo making fun of is dad in an off the cuff conversation

Dave Miller 11 months, 1 week ago

Sorry, but I'll take any Kate Upton commercial over any you mentioned... :)

Tim Orel 11 months, 1 week ago

I'll take several Superbowl commercials before this. Mean Joe and Cindy Crawford above this. Budweiser Clydesdales or the one with the dalmatian they just made are also better. Even the first one with the frogs. As Tracey says, this is marketing for the Ball family, not for something more people care about.

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