Why the Balls might not be the best basketball family in Los Angeles

Hardly a day goes by without bombastic basketball parent Lavar Ball making some sort of news.

In the past few days, the middle Ball son, LiAngelo, made headlines by quitting the team at UCLA.

The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, instituted a rule forbidding interviews with guests of players. A rule, no doubt, designed to stop Lavar Ball from making more headlines by second-guessing Lakers coach Luke Walton.

When it comes to picking the most accomplished basketball family in Southern California over the past few decades, though, the Holidays can make a strong argument for ranking No. 1.

There are so many similarities.

Both families have a first-round pick in the NBA draft and multiple siblings who played at UCLA. Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday is the oldest of four children and the only one who didn’t play at UCLA. He went to conference rival Washington.

“The different thing with them is they all played together in high school,” Holiday said. “Me and Jrue did, but obviously we weren’t able to play with our younger brother Aaron.”

Holiday is referring to the celebrated Chino Hills High School squad of 2015-16, which featured senior Lonzo, junior LiAngelo and freshman LaMelo Ball. That team finished 35-0 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today.

On the other hand, the Ball brothers won a single California state championship. Justin and Jrue Holiday won three in four years at Campbell Hall High School from 2005-08.

Jrue was a first-round pick in the 2009 NBA draft and now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. The Holidays also have a sister Lauren who played at UCLA before having to quit the sport after multiple concussions.

What the Holidays don’t have is a publicity-seeking father like Lavar.

“My dad’s laid-back. He likes to just chill, watch the games and move on,” Justin said. “That’s how he is. If you interview him, he will answer questions. But if you give him a choice to be interviewed or not, he’d probably say, ‘No, I’m good.’ ”

Holiday’s parents, Shawn and Toya, both played college basketball at Arizona State, with Shawn finishing his career at Cal State-Los Angeles. Toya spent time as the girls varsity coach at Campbell Hall.

“My mom used to say stuff to us all the time (during games),” Holiday said. “For the most part, my dad didn’t say much.”

Aaron, the youngest Holiday brother, has played with both Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball at UCLA. A junior point guard, Aaron started as a freshman, came off the bench last season to make room for Lonzo Ball, and is now back in the starting lineup and averaging 16.5 points for the Bruins.

Even though both families have been in the same UCLA parent seating section, Holiday says he doesn’t think his parents know the Balls very well. They live on different sides of the city.

The Holidays grew up in the Chatsworth neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley and attended high school in North Hollywood. Chino Hills is east of Los Angeles, closer to Ontario and Riverside.

Coincidentally, the brother rivalry Holiday remembers most was with the Lopez twins. While Justin and Jrue were winning titles at Campbell Hall, they twice ran into Robin and Brook Lopez at Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial High School.

Robin and Justin are now Bulls teammates, while Bulls forward Quincy Pondexter also was on that San Joaquin Memorial squad.

“We played them twice in the state playoffs. We won one and they won one,” Holiday said. “We played them in two different places. Their home court was small, so those two (7-foot Lopez brothers) just covered up everything.

“It seemed like it was the smallest court ever, crowd right on you. It was a great atmosphere, but that was the game we lost, obviously.”

It’s really no surprise the Holiday family didn’t go out of its way to seek publicity. Justin is soft-spoken, polite and humble. It’s easy to see why the Bulls sought him out to be a veteran leader during the rough rebuilding process.

With that type of personality, naturally Holiday has nothing bad to say about polarizing patriarch Lavar Ball.

“They do what they think is best for their family,” Holiday said. “They are themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that to me. Be you. That’s the best thing you can really do in life.

“A lot of the stuff is good for publicity and marketing and everything they’re doing with their brand. Some people are going to like it, some people aren’t.”

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls.

Source: Sports

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