Column: With Coby White, Ball strikes out again

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LaVar Ball, the genuine article, is a stain on the American sporting landscape.

So are his impostors.

But it was Ball’s tentacles in their true form that recently extended their reach into Wilson.

The target was none other than Greenfield School senior Coby White, who has signed with the University of North Carolina. A high-volume scorer who can inflict damage at all three levels of a defense, White, with his hairstyle that inspires eligibility in the American Basketball Association, is the most prolific “bucket getter” that I’ve seen in my time covering high school basketball.

His stat line in Saturday’s North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A quarterfinal win over Charlotte Victory Christian — 30 points, 12 rebounds — would be hailed as a herculean feat by the majority of amateur players.

Yet that’s not the case with White. He constantly challenges wordsmiths to dig deeper into their vocabularies, searching for the next synonym to describe the highest career output in North Carolina high school basketball history. His Saturday performance, for those who have been spoiled watching him, equated to a shift worker punching a time clock. That characterization of a 30-point, 12-rebound performance is unfair. However, at the end of the day, Greenfield sits two wins away from a state championship.

White, a McDonald’s All-American, isn’t much concerned with anything else at this point of his playing career.

Of course, that didn’t faze the creator of Big Baller Brand from shooting his shot. Or more accurately, throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. In trying to get his Junior Basketball Association off the ground — a proposed league for players who wish to skip college and wait until they are NBA draft-eligible at the age of 19 — Ball is attempting to start up an eight-team league with 80 of the top prospects in the country.

It seems simple enough for Ball, the failed professional athlete who sees this insatiable need to live vicariously through his three sons, who are all playing professionally in some form. Find a reputable list of the nation’s top 100 players, and blindly throw darts at everyone. Maybe some kids, and their parents as well, will be naive enough to entertain the league’s pay scale.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case thus far. SBNation reported on Feb. 2 that BBB has been reaching out to top high school players through its Twitter account, and LaVar’s accuracy as a recruiting marksman might be equal to his odds of beating Michael Jordan one on one.

Zero percent. Or to put it in more complete terms, 0 for 21 as of the date of SBNation’s story.

Oops. That was published before White and his mother, Bonita, turned them down. Zero for 22, LaVar.

Coby White is better than anything LaVar Ball or his hired henchmen have to offer. There is no need whatsoever for his talents to be part of another ridiculous reality show or relegated to the streaming back channels of Facebook for a year until his 19th birthday. That’s assuming — and a big one at that — the JBA even gets off the ground. Finding the content producers (read: kids who signed away their college eligibility) doesn’t seem to be going too well. 

Unfortunately, Ball is living proof that anyone with the money and the wherewithal to make outlandish statements in the public eye will have a forum. The mainstream media should have tuned him out long ago. Yet, it hasn’t. So here we sit, with laughable “BBB” backdrops for their own press conferences and an actual social-media driven audience for content. Ball lives for and cashes in on the ridiculous, which makes him such a loathsome figure.

There’s a LaVar Ball wannabe in every town if you look hard enough.

Fortunately, the White family dispatched the real thing far away from Wilson.