After months of waiting that included bold predictions, laughs, and general absurdity, the NBA world finally got their first look at Lonzo Ball during his Summer League debut with the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend.
On Friday, Ball took the court as a Laker for the first time at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Big Baller Brand was present in the arena as well, with Lonzo’s headline-grabbing father LaVar in attendance and younger brother and Chino Hills High School standout LaMelo taking part in a few shooting competitions during timeouts.
It didn’t take long for the Ball hype to feel real, with Lonzo finding teammate Brandon Ingram with a beautiful alley-oop for the very first points of the game.
If Lonzo Ball is as good as his 1st pass was, the Lakers may really have something
— YourSports (@YourSports) July 8, 2017
After that intial burst however, Ball’s debut was not a great one. Lonzo went just 2-15 from the floor, and an absolutely atrocious 1-11 from beyond the arc in a game the Lakers lost to the Clippers in overtime 96-93.
After the game, LaVar said that it was his worst game ever, but noted that he’d not been discouraged, because Lonzo had still kept the Lakers competitive in the game despite his poor performance. He also noted all the Lakers fans in attendance. “[I’ll] show you what he did do,” LaVar said. “Look how many Laker fans out here. Changed the culture. That’s what it’s about. It ain’t about him being a superstar, it’s about him changing the culture.”
LaVar went on to say in his gregarious tone, “Instead of going to the movies, EVERYBODY coming to watch the Lakers and Big Baller Brand.”
LaVar Ball says Lonzo played his worst game ever but believes his son already changed the Lakers culture.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 8, 2017
Online, some of those who have not bought into the Big Baller Brand hype took a moment to roast Lonzo on his lackluster showing.
Lonzo Ball’s shot chart from his first NBA game isn’t exactly Big Baller material: pic.twitter.com/XapqIoQ7GH
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) July 8, 2017
Pretty baller move tbh pic.twitter.com/jhqdXVyyMc
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) July 8, 2017
Bruh if Lonzo’s shoe ever falls apart during a game then Twitter falling apart right with it.
— Cash Kofie (@KofieYeboah) July 8, 2017
Thankfully for the Ball family, Lonzo didn’t have to wait long for his shot at redemption, as the Lakers had another Summer League game the very next day in a matchup against the Boston Celtics and their 2017-draftee standout Jayson Tatum.
In front of the first-ever, sold-out crowd in Summer League history, Ball put up a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists on the night. Ball’s superior court vision was on full display for the packed house, as many of his assists came from impressive and unexpected angles.
Lonzo Ball with the nasty bounce pass!
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) July 9, 2017
This no-look dish to Ivica Zubac was another highlight of the night, much to the delight of Magic Johnson.
Lonzo Ball with the pass to Zubac and Magic Johnson loves it!
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) July 9, 2017
After the game, Lonzo was encouraged by his improved performance but still disappointed by the result, a loss.
“I definitely felt better — better game — but like I said, we didn’t get the win, and that’s all we care about,” Ball said according to the New York Times. “So until we win, we aren’t going to be happy.”
In just two games the NBA world got to see a wide range of what Ball is capable of. Chances are throughout his long NBA career he’ll show more of both those jaw-dropping passes and a few more nights of rough shooting. For now, Ball would just like to get a win under his belt.
The Lakers play one more game on Monday night before the Summer League playoffs begin.