Sometimes you are destined for greatness, then life brings you adversity. But the lesson isn’t in the adversity, it’s in how you respond to said adversity; that is what defines you as a person.
G-League talent LiAngelo Ball had to learn this the hard way. Growing up, LiAngelo envisioned playing alongside his brothers in the NBA and while LaMelo and Lonzo have accomplished that dream. LiAngelo is still fighting. But the young man has come a very long way and his journey thus far deserves some praise. There were so many opportunities for him to give up, but he didn’t.
Coming out of Chino Hills High School in California, LiAngelo was just as much a star as his brothers. He scored multiple 50 point games and at moments outshined both Lonzo and LaMelo. His senior year he lead the state of California in scoring, averaging 34 points a game.
Although scouts ranked him outside their top-200 recruits nationally, he earned a scholarship to follow in his brother Lonzo’s footsteps and play at UCLA. Lonzo flourished during his one year at UCLA and was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers and LiAngelo was next up. But life brings you adversity and sometimes things don’t go as planned.
China Arrest And UCLA Suspension
On Nov 7, 2017, LiAngelo and two other players were arrested in China days before the season opener. The team had been visiting Shanghai to play the regular-season opener against Georgia Tech. Ball and his teammates were accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the team hotel. All three players were arrested on shoplifting charges. UCLA decided to suspend LiAngelo indefinitely from the team, which forced him to withdraw from the University. LiAngelo made a mistake, as many of us do when we are young. He also could have let it define him, but he didn’t. The NBA was still his goal, but now he would have to find a different path.
Overseas Then To The G-League
On December 11, 2017, LiAngelo, alongside his brother LaMelo signed to play professionally with Prienai in the Lithuanian Basketball League. He finished the season averaging 12.6 points and shot 41.5% from the three-point line. Though admirable, LiAngelo’s overseas play would not get him selected in the 2018 NBA draft. It would be another opportunity for the young baller to give up, but once again he didn’t.
In the 2018 season, LiAngelo played in the Junior Basketball Association, which was a league founded by his father Lavar Ball. It was designed for players who wanted to take an alternate path to the NBA. LiAngelo shined and was named to the league’s USA Select Team, which participated in international play. For the next couple of years, LiAngelo tried to find his footing in the basketball world. An ankle injury sidelined him during the summer of 2019 and he missed the NBA Summer League.
December 2020, Ball finally signed a training camp deal with the Detroit Pistons but was waived before playing a preseason game. The same year his brother LaMelo was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 3rd overall pick. LiAngelo stayed patient and continued to work on his game. In 2021, during the summer LiAngelo was invited to workout with the Hornets by his younger brother. During the workout, the Hornets were very impressed with LiAngelo. He earned a spot on their Summer League team and in his debut game he hit five 3-pointers in 16 minutes.
On Oct 23, 2021, LiAngelo was drafted 14th overall in the Greensboro Swarm in the NBA G League draft and when getting chances he’s shinning. In his G-League debut, he scored 22 points. He’s also had a game when we scored 14 points in 15 minutes, going 6 for 8 from the field. Although he’s averaging 9.6 points per game, some insiders even believe he is ready for the league right now.
It hasn’t been easy for LiAngelo Ball. One mistake almost ended everything, but he made it a journey, and with his father’s help he created a path that has been unique to his story. Adversity could have easily pushed him away from his dreams to be in the NBA, but he hasn’t stopped balling.