Lonzo Ball achieved his lifelong dream Thursday night when his hometown Lakers selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
Naturally, his father then stole the spotlight.
Moments after Lonzo walked across the stage at Barclays Center, shook commissioner Adam Silver’s hand and put on his purple Lakers hat, Lavar Ball was in front of a microphone making grandiose claims.
“I’m going to tell you what: Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs his first year,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “Come see me when he does. I’ll have another hat on that say, ‘I told you so.’”
Sixers teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons ripped LaVar on Twitter for the prediction. The Lakers finished with the third-fewest wins in the NBA last season.
“Crazy pill,” Simmons tweeted.
Embiid quoted Simmons’ tweet and wrote, “Please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.”
Father and son couldn’t be more different in demeanor, though. Lonzo took the podium after his selection and came off humble, even-keeled and unfazed by the bright lights and magnitude of the moment.
“I’m just thankful for everybody that helped me get here,” said Lonzo, who hails from Chino Hills, California along with his younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo. “I’m truly blessed to be able to play in my hometown, and I can’t wait to get on the court.”
Lonzo arrived at Barclays Center wearing black dress shoes but changed into purple ones from his family’s Big Baller Brand company prior to being drafted. LaVar Ball put on a yellow triple B hat after Silver announced the Lakers pick.
“Just had a good feeling, and changed them five minutes before when they was on the clock,” Lonzo said of the shoes. “I’m glad they called my name.”
By 8:45 p.m., the Big Baller Brand website had already debuted Lonzo’s trademark shoe in Lakers colors. They sell for $495, and Lonzo said he doesn’t anticipate the price of the Big Baller Brand apparel dropping any time soon.
“That’s something we got to talk about further down the line,” Lonzo said of possibly lowering prices. “But as of now are trying to be a premium brand, so we’re trying to be at the top.”
Lonzo was then asked if the high prices make him a target.
“According to the media, I have a lot of targets on me,” he quipped. “So probably.”
LiAngelo and LaMelo were both in attendance at Barclays and sat with Lonzo and LaVar in front of the stage. LaMelo wore a flashy bright red suit.
Lonzo’s mother, Tina stayed home in California as she continues to recover from a stroke.
“She still can’t talk yet but she understands me,” Lonzo said. “So when I get home I’ll get to talk to her. I know she is happy at home for sure. When I get back we’ll have that conversation and it’ll be a great time.”
The Ball family was later seen arriving at their hotel in midtown surrounded by security some time after 1 a.m. but would not provide comment to the Daily News.
FULTZ GOES 1
The Sixers gave away a future first-round pick to move up in the first round and take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick.
Fultz joins a young roster that includes Embiid, Simmons (last year’s No. 1 pick) and 23-year-old rising Croatian Dario Saric.
Fultz said he’s already started to bond with his teammates.
“Of course Embiid, everyone knows him from Twitter and how funny he is and how good of a person he is. In the last couple weeks and stuff I started talking to him a lot more,” Fultz said. “Once he figured out I had a chance to go there, he started showing more love and everything like that.”
After days of speculation and rumor, the Bulls dealt Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves on draft night in exchange for guards Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn, and the rights to Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen.
The Bulls also sent the rights to Creighton’s Justin Patton in the deal.
MITCHELL’S METS CONNECTION
The Jazz traded up with the Nuggets on Thursday night to grab Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, whose father, Donovan Sr. is the Mets’ director of player relations and community engagements.
The Mets recognized the younger Mitchell on Twitter after the pick.
“Congrats @spidadmitchell, son of Donovan Mitchell Sr. our Dir. of Player Relations/Community Engagement for being drafted,” the tweet read.
The Knicks had the opportunity to draft standout Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk at No. 8, but they opted to take Ntilikina instead. Monk ended up going No. 11 to the Hornets and said dropping to that point would “for sure” put a chip on his shoulder.
“I actually thought the Knicks would take me, but nothing is disappointing about getting drafted,” Monk said. “This has been my dream forever, and nobody ever from my town ever been drafted, ever made it this far, so I’m just thankful to be here.”
Monk is excited to join an organization led by Michael Jordan. He was asked what he would do if Jordan challenged him to a game of one-on-one.
“I’m going to beat him,” Monk said to laughter.