They’re Not Afraid to Criticize Their Own
These days, one of the most effective ways of building a loyal following is to keep it real as much as possible. Whether it’s good or bad, people want you to keep it 100. Sunshine and lollipops don’t sell like they used to, and people are sick of being sold false goods in the media.
Dana White is not afraid to keep it real about his product, and by his product I mean his fighters. We as fans listen to his press conferences and interviews after every event, and we know that there’s a high likelihood that Dana is going to give us the straight goods.
There are countless examples of Dana coming down on the fighters, or even events as a whole. He’s not the type of guy to stand there and grin while gritting his teeth instead of saying what he actually feels. Take UFC 208 as an example. It was a night full of judges decisions, and pretty boring decisions at that. Instead of trying to come up with some excuses, Dana White flat out said:
“Not one of our better events,” White said on FOX Sports 1’s post-fight show. “I always feel like that if we come into a place, you’re going to have at least a few good fights that are going to get you up out of your seat. We didn’t have any of those.
Or how about that time Dana shared his total embarrassment over Anderson Silva’s performance against Damien Maia at UFC 112 in 2010:
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in the 10 years of being in this business,” White said. “It was the most horrible thing I have ever seen.”
Many promoters or brand-heads would do everything in their power to dodge such criticism surrounding one of their events. Dana White, however, is a fan before anything else, and that’s what seems to resonate with a lot of people.
LaVar Ball, regardless of all of his eccentricities, is too a loyal fan of his sport of basketball. While he is the loudest and proudest promoter of his product, in this case his sons, he is also not afraid to lay criticism upon them when things don’t go right.
For example, LaVar’s eldest son Lonzo had a poor performance in his Summer League debut with the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead of deflecting his opinion on the matter, LaVar told it straight:
“He can’t go but up. And he still kept them in the game playing his worst game ever. That’s what I like about it.”
While throwing a positive spin on it, LaVar was still openly critical about his star athlete Son, which I think took a lot of people by surprise. In the media, LaVar is mostly the ultimate cheerleader for his boys, but that criticism for Lonzo was a welcome tidbit of reality that everyone needed.
Not long after that, a video was released of LaVar harshly criticizing his youngest son LaMelo after an AAU Tournament Loss:
Some of his quotes include:
“You are the weakest link we have on defense on the fact that you don’t move”
“Until you learn to be like your brother and play both ends, we are going to be a sorry team.”
“You ain’t doing nothing but letting down your team, son”
While some have pointed this out as being too harsh on the young player, a lot of this criticism about LaMelo has been voiced by others in the media. So for LaVar, LaMelo’s father, coach, and biggest fan, to come out and say it, it actually helps to validate a lot of the bragging the man does about his sons. It shows that as willing as he is to praise his boys, he’s just as willing to come down on them when he needs to.
Is BBB Destined For That Big $B?
Maybe not, but who knows. At the end of the day, Dana White proved something above anything else: No matter how much talking you do, the product itself has to make the biggest statement of all. This was true with the UFC, which, because of the combination of it’s amazing fighters, the exciting fights and experience, and the vocal backing of Dana White, was able to garner a multi-Billion dollar price tag.
With LaVar Ball, he may bring a lot of the same things to the table that Dana White has, but it’s his sons that have to put in that work to live up to all the hype that Daddy Ball has been offering up. With Son #1 being drafted by the Lakers in the first round and putting on some stellar performances in the Summer League, they’re off to a good start. Now if son #2 and #3 can live up to their potential, LaVar just may get the last laugh after all. And we all know how much he loves to laugh.