Ladies and gentlemen — kids of all ages — buckle up and gather around because it’s time to talk about one of   the things I hate the most in sports — helicopter parents.

You can probably imagine the parents I am talking about.

The parents who take their kids’ sports way too seriously.

The parents who are yelling at the coach because their child isn’t getting enough playing time.

The parents who are yelling at every kid on the court when they make a mistake. Maybe you had these kinds of parents growing up.

Maybe you are one. Let’s hope not.

The popular idea seems to be parents try to relive their playing days through the lives of their children.

Parents remember how much fun they had when they played sports at a young age, and often make it a priority to experience that fun again.

A lot of times parents seem to care more about the games their children are playing in than the children who are playing.

It seems that the bar for helicopter parents has been raised to a whole new level this past college basketball season thanks to LaVar Ball, father of UCLA point guard and likely NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball.

In case you have lived under a rock the last five months, Lamar Ball has set a new standard for what it means to live out a parent’s dream through his children.

He has made some outlandish claims to draw attention to himself and his three sons.

This past Thanksgiving, LaVar Ball guaranteed that the UCLA Bruins, led by his son at point guard, would win this year’s national championship.

While no one paid much attention to this claim, it is still completely unreasonable to guarantee a national title. The Bruins lost in the Sweet 16 against the Kentucky
Wildcats 86-75.

In February, LaVar Ball said his son would only play in the NBA for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

With all of the drama surrounding the Ball family, I cannot imagine what would happen if Lonzo Ball was wearing a Lakers jersey next season.

In March, LaVar Ball said that his son Lonzo is a better player than two-time MVP and Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry.

“(Lonzo)’s better than Steph Curry to me,” LaVar Ball said.

“Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”

He claimed that his three sons are collectively worth a $1 billion shoe deal.

Keep in mind one of them has never played a professional game and two of them are still in high school.

These are all insane statements, but none of these are the most outlandish to me.

LaVar Ball said he could beat Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one.

This one blew me out of the water.

Keep in mind LaVar Ball averaged two points a game in college. How in the world could he say this?

“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,” LaVar Ball said.

“He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ‘cause he can’t go around me.”

How dare LaVar Ball disrespect the greatest player the game of basketball has ever seen.

Any ounce of respect I had remaining for him went out the window.

Just when you think he can’t say anything more outrageous, LaVar Ball came out last week and said UCLA didn’t win the national championship this year because there were too many white guys on the team.

“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” LaVar Ball said.

It’s reached the point where these claims sound like someone just trying to be funny, but LaVar is 100 percent serious about what he says.

Now if you’re reading this, I would like you to pause for a second a take a deep breath.

Exhale, and then just imagine what LaVar Ball will do and say if his son does get drafted by the Lakers and plays in Los Angeles for the next decade or so.

Everything he says and does will be so much more overblown than it is right now.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be LaVar Ball’s son.

There is no doubt that each of his sons are talented basketball players, but is what LaVar is doing with all of the attention he’s bringing on him and his sons really helping them?

His antics seem to be doing a whole lot more bad than good for his sons so far.

I played basketball throughout elementary, middle and high school and I was blessed to have both of my parents attend the vast majority of games where I played.

But if either of them ever did or said anything LaVar Ball has, it would be impossible not to feel the pressure.

It makes me wonder if Lonzo Ball would have had a better season at UCLA if his dad had never said anything.

Maybe the Bruins could have won the national championship, but who knows?

Maybe kids would enjoy their athletics more if their parents took a step back and focused on supporting them instead of trying to relive their glory days.

I’m thankful my parents did, and I hope to do the same one day for my kids.

DILLARD is the sports editor.

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