A lot of basketball fans could probably do without LaVar Ball. They see cockiness, they see arrogance, they see a father taking away from his son’s accomplishments.
And that’s fair.
But Bruce Pearl sees something else – and if Ball were the father of one of his players, he’d be okay with it.
“I think it’s like separation of church and state,” the Auburn head basketball coach said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It’s the separation of the parent from the entertainer. As far as the entertainment thing, I have nothing to do with it in the sense that I don’t care what he does or says on his own. We live in a free country. From a parent standpoint, I admire what he and his wife and his family have done with their children. Guys, I’ve got a ton of kids on my team that don’t have parents, that don’t have fathers, that don’t have anybody in their life that is as supportive as the Balls have been of their children – or have provided with them the most incredible and the most difficult and the most challenging expectations to be great. I got so many kids that would die for somebody in their live to provide them with that kind of support.
“The rest of it, all the chatter, I don’t even pay any attention to it,” Pearl continued. “That’s entertainment. That’s just part of the business. That’s part of the circus. For me, that has nothing to do with what kind of father, what kind of parenting, they have. As long as I see the fact that it’s not affecting the kids, then whatever.”
Pearl, to be fair, has an open-door policy with parents. Most coaches do not.
“I let parents in my locker room,” he said. “I’m a coach that will talk to parents – because you know what? They passed the baton to me. The most important thing in their life, their family, they let me have a piece of that family. They trusted me. So therefore, with me personally, I’m a lot closer to my parents, for better or worse, than most head coaches.”