Parental Pressure


Eric Aboytes and Cole Sotnick

It is a common occurrence to scroll through social media and see a video of Lavar Ball making outrageous comments about his sons. From claiming that Lonzo is the best player in the world to pulling his youngest son Lamelo out of high school, Lavar has practically done it all. While it is in the parent’s best interest to help their child, when does their involvement cross the line?

While many claim that these comments put his sons in danger of harsh criticism, others see it as a way to promote his children in the basketball world.

After Lonzo Ball was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA draft, Lavar was interviewed by ESPN and he described how Lonzo will prosper in the league.

“Lonzo Ball is gonna take the Lakers to the Playoffs his first year,” Lavar said.

Although Lonzo claims that his father’s comments have no effect on his game, they put him in a situation where he receives massive amounts of media attention.

In 2016, the Ball family created the Big Baller Brand to promote all three sons.   

In November 2017, The Big Baller Brand released Lonzo Ball’s signature shoes called the ZO2’s. They are priced at $495 which outraged many sports fans. In a Twitter post, Lavar expressed how he felt about the price of the shoes.

“If you can’t afford the ZO2’s you’re not a big baller!” Lavar wrote.

This tweet attracted a large amount of media attention and was featured on various sports programs. Before Lonzo had played a single minute in the NBA, Lavar put him in a situation where he’s always been in the spotlight. Because of the attention he has received, spectators had high expectations for Lonzo going into the regular season. Many see this stress from his parents as unnecessary and could potentially hurt him in the long run. On the Scott Van Pelt show, sports analyst Scott Van Pelt expressed his issues with Lavar.

“This isn’t about loving his sons, it’s about loving a spotlight that he never had.  And this is where you tell me it’s working because people keep putting microphones in his face” Van Pelt said. “From this point forward we will pay attention to the young man in the jersey and not the Dad who can’t stop talking.”

The problem with parental involvement in sports is not just an issue with Lonzo, Lamelo, and LiAngelo. Kids all around the world feel the pressure of parents in sports.

At Paly and other high schools throughout the country, students feel the pressure from parents. With many students attempting to pursue a collegiate athletic career, there can be great pressure from parents to succeed in high school sports.

Varsity lacrosse player Aidan Gans (‘19) sees excessive parent involvement as harmful to the kids involved.

“A parent can really influence their kid, but it gets to a point where it’s too much… when they are choosing the sports for their kid and what they do,” Gans said.  

Other Paly students feel similarly about parental involvement. Many agreed upon the fact that parents should be there for the means of transportation and funding of sports, but communication with coaches should be left to the kids. Varsity soccer player Caroline Furrier (‘19) reflected on parents in sports.

“I think that parental involvement in sports is okay, but it comes to a certain point where they are hovering too much,” Furrier said. “It is the kid’s responsibility to represent themselves and make their own names.”

An important aspect of pursuing a collegiate or professional career in sports is recognition. Often times, when a parent becomes too involved in the process, it can have a negative impact on the child. For instance, Lamelo Ball is 16 years old and receives a large amount of criticism; not for the things he personally does, rather, what his father says about him.

With many talented athletes at Paly, the competition to receive an invitation or scholarship to play collegiate sports is high. This can lead to parents becoming too involved and creating an unhealthy environment for the athlete. Varsity Football player Jamir Shepard (‘20) recognizes how parental involvement can be really stressful for an athlete.

“If an athlete is trying to get a scholarship or recruited to a D1 school and their parents are too involved with it, it could be very stressful for the athlete,” Shepard said.  “If parents keep constantly talking to you about it, it could reach a point where you really get frustrated.”

Not only is there stress for the athlete, but it can restrict their college options.  Athletes work hard to get offers from colleges, however, parents’ actions sometimes cross the line.  

Varsity football player Andres Jimenez (‘19) has some knowledge of excessive parent involvement in the recruiting process.  

“Coaches are the ones who usually help athletes get their names out to colleges.  When parents get too involved with the scouting process, it can affect the player’s decision on what colleges they want to go to,” Jimenez said.    

 As Paly sports seasons swing by, many student-athletes are faced with the problem of excessive parent involvement.  Although some students may not experience pressure from their parents, some athletes endure detrimental effects from the involvement of their parents.