De’Aaron Fox had more motivation that anything to “shut LaVar up” when it came to him against Lonzo in the Sweet 16 of this year’s tournament.
LaVar Ball had outspoken words of a full season where he said multiple outrageous things.
Lonzo was better than two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry and proclaimed his son would only play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“In the last year, he became relevant for some reason,” Fox said of LaVar Ball. “When I knew Lonzo in high school, I’d never seen his dad before. He went crazy this year. I guess when your son is a lottery pick, that gives you a lot of confidence.”
Fox took that as motivation and took down Ball in the Sweet 16, notching 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting to lead Kentucky to an 86-75 victory. Ball only scored only 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting and turned the ball over four times. Their first performance against each other in Rupp Arena basically had the same outcome: Fox dominated.
“Kill mode all the time,” is how Fox described his mindset before the UCLA game in March. “Shut Lavar Ball up,” is how he explains it a few months later. Of course, he says he had other motivations, too. UCLA fans were talking too much. And he always plays better in big games. And he loved Kentucky.
When they lost to North Carolina two days later, he was in tears in the locker room as his career came to an end.
It was one of the biggest highlight reel’s of Fox’s young career. Of course it won’t be the last because I expect him to go out and do that in the NBA every night.
Check out the full Andrew Sharp great piece on Fox here.