Ever since he was a teenager, LiAngelo Ball lived in the shadows of his brothers Lonzo and LaMelo Ball. They dominated at Chino Hills high school but, unlike Lonzo and LaMelo, he wasn't able to take his talents to the NBA right away.
LiAngelo was going to follow Lonzo's steps and play for the UCLA Bruins before a shoplifting scandal in China. He and some teammates were thrown to jail until Donald Trump interceded and got them to come back to the U.S.
'Gelo' didn't want to serve his suspension with the Bruins and his father decided to take him and LaMelo to Lithuania to start playing professional basketball, a decision that pretty much killed his chances of being drafted.
LiAngelo Ball Says His Shoplifting Scandal Shaped His Character
Needless to say, his father's presence and that scandal cast plenty of doubts about his character, work ethic, and personality. But up to this day, he says that it won't let that incident define him:
"It made me who I am today. I done dealt with so much. I done heard everything — good and bad. Nothing really bothers me. My skin is thick. When I play today, I just keep that same energy. For sure, people cast judgment. I was young, I don’t look back on that. I just learned from it and kept pushing. I’m not gonna let one decision mess up my whole life," Gelo told The Athletic.
Lonzo was already in the NBA and LaMelo made it to the league last year. He got a couple of failed stints and non-guaranteed deals with the Lakers and Pistons before finally getting a chance to showcase his skills with the Hornets.
Some will say that he's only given that chance because of his brother LaMelo, but Gelo proved to be a valuable two-way player in the Summer League and he looks like he'll be a solid role player off the bench at worst:
"I just listen to my coaches really. I could do whatever they want me to do. If they want me to get the ball and score, I could do that. If they want me to run off screens, I could do that. I just make sure I work on everything, so when they do ask me to do something, I’ll be 100 percent and ready to go. I just know I had to stick to my own path. I can’t do what ‘Melo and ‘Zo did because they had different paths. I know I had to stay grounded and stay locked in one spot. Charlotte felt like home," he concluded.
Judging a person for something he did as a teenager isn't exactly right. He was held accountable and paid his dues, Now, he'll get the chance to prove that he can also ball with the best.