GENEVA, Ohio -- LaVar Ball's oldest son is currently playing with LeBron James.
His youngest son, meanwhile, he believes has already surpassed him.
On Friday, LaMelo Ball was officially reintroduced to the United States high school basketball scene, joining the prep squad at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. LaVar was present for an introductory press conference at the Olympic training center just outside Ashtabula and offered the following assessment to WKYC's Will Ujek regarding LaMelo's place in basketball's landscape.
"He's the most entertaining, most notable high school player ever," Ball said. "People say that he's better than LeBron, [Michael] Jordan -- anybody."
That may seem like hyperbole -- and to a large degree, it is -- although Ball's point isn't necessarily LaMelo is a better basketball player than James or Jordan. Rather, the polarizing CEO of 'Big Baller Brand' believes his youngest son's fame has already eclipsed any player before him seeing as he's been in the spotlight since his freshman season at Chino Hills High School in Southern California.
Since then, the youngest brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has amassed a following of more than 3.9 million on Instagram and 458,000 on Twitter, while starring in his family's Facebook reality show, "Ball in the Family." James, of course, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a high school junior, but didn't have social media at his disposal during his career at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in the early-2000s.
"Nobody knew LeBron when he was in high school in London. In Germany. In Latvia. In Lithuania," the patriarch of the Ball family said with his signature enthusiasm. "The social media wasn't like that. Melo was in the social media era where it blows everything up to astronomical proportions."
Seeing the welcome LaMelo has received upon his arrival in Northeast Ohio only furthers his father's point. On Friday, the digital media platform 'Overtime' erected a billboard just outside downtown Cleveland featuring the 6-foot-7 point guard in a pose similar to the one James used to portray on his 'Witness' banner.
Whether or not Ball is currently more "notable" than James was when the 4-time MVP was in high school probably depends on how you measure fame. But when it comes to LaVar's bold proclamation, LaMelo's new coach isn't doing much to temper expectations.
“We got the guy who can make the blind see and the crippled walk in LaMelo Ball," said SPIRE head coach Jermaine Jackson. "Like Magic Johnson said in the 80s, don’t look down at your popcorn because you might miss something. It’s showtime baby.”