Lavar Ball — the polarizing owner of sportswear company Big Baller Brand and father of top NBA prospect Lonzo Ball — made headlines Wednesday for clashing with on-air Fox Sports 1 reporter Kristine Leahy.
Ball had appeared on “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” radio show to discuss his son’s prospects. Leahy is a contributor to the program and was in studio with Ball and Cowherd, albeit positioned in a booth behind Ball.
After heavily promoting his son — whom he hopes plays for the Los Angeles Lakers — he went on to discuss his footwear sales, boasting he’s sold a “good amount” of the the $500 to $1,000 shoes.
That’s when Leahy weighed in.
“How many?” Leahy asked.
“Stay in your lane,” Ball responded, without turning around. “I don’t even worry about her over there,” he added. “She scares me. I don’t look over there because I’m scared of her. I’m thinking assault right now. Leave me alone.”
Ball continued to speak, addressing Cowherd only. “I’ll tell you. Four to five hundred pairs.”
Cowherd then replied, “She’s a reporter, her job is to probe.”
Ball retorted, “She can report to whoever she wants behind her. I’m talking to you, Colin.”
Things only got more tense when Ball accused Leahy of criticizing his brand.
“You are a hater,” Ball said, still without turning to face her. “I would never wear a Big Baller shirt,” he mocked in a sing-song voice.
Despite the mocking, Leahy responded, “If you want to work with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, have something that appeals to women.” (Note: Big Baller Brand does sell a line women’s apparel.)
“If you want to have a successful company, you have to market to women,” Leahy added.
“Uh, if you have a women’s company,” Ball retorted, a comment Leahy found incredulous.
Later, Ball said, “I never disrespect women. But I’ll tell you what, if you act like that, guess what? Something’s coming to you, and it’s okay.”
When Leahy asked if he was threatening her, Ball said: “See how she’s trying to turn the words. I would never threaten you.” Leahy quoted Ball saying “something was coming to her,” to which he replied: “I don’t know what it is. I’m not a psychic.”
Watch the entire uncomfortable exchange below:
Several sports journalists condemned Ball’s behavior.
USA Today columnist Charles Curtis called Ball “completely disrespectful” to Leahy.
Sporting News writer Sara Jane Harris said Ball’s words and actions were “terrible,” but perhaps in response to Leahy’s previous criticism about the elder Ball’s relationship with his son.
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo said Ball’s antics were part of his “weird media circus” and finished with this line: “If you’re exhausted by this Lavar Ball news cycle, trust that you are not alone.”
You can listen to the entire interview here.