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LaVar Ball Vs. Stephen A. Smith Made For Some Profoundly Dumb TV

I suppose the logical apotheosis of the media tour that LaVar Ball, patron saint of loud sports dads, has embarked upon over the past month is an appearance on ESPN’s preeminent shouting match, First Take. This morning, Ball joined the program to discuss his series of outlandish public proclamations—that his son Lonzo is better than Steph Curry, that he, LaVar, could beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1, that LeBron James’s sons are soft babies—and try and match Stephen A. Smith yell-for-yell. Ball is using his platform to promote his sportswear brand and Smith is a world-class troll, so there’s a certain amount of theater here, but good lord it made for some truly incredible television.

No other guest I’ve ever seen on First Take has matched and beaten Smith point-for-point like Ball. I can’t tell how much of his own nonsense he believes, but Ball is an even better sports yeller than Smith. Buzzfeed’s Joel Anderson characterized it as “the uncle table at the family reunion” and, damn, yeah, that’s spot-on.


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