Above all, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale is known for his positivity. Everyone is a “PTPer” or a “Diaper Dandy” or “something special.”

But on the subject of Lonzo and LaVar Ball, Vitale is strikingly and surprisingly negative.

Like many, many other people, Vitale seems to think LaVar Ball is a clown, his plan to sell his son’s sneakers for $495 is crazy and all the commotion around him over the past months is bad for college basketball. Over the last couple days, Vitale has expressed that sentiment quite harshly.

Unlike the many, many LaVar Ball critics who enjoy watching Lonzo play and don’t bear any grudge against the NBA point guard, Vitale has some quibbles with the younger Ball as well.

Namely, Dickie V thinks Lonzo is bad at defense, citing UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky as an example. In that game, De’Aaron Fox scored 39 points on 13-20 shooting, while Ball scored only 10.

Vitale figures that if Fox can score 39 on Ball, NBA stars like Isaiah Thomas, John Wall and Steph Curry will put up even more.

This is at least a little unfair toward Lonzo, who is a 19-year-old NBA Draft prospect, not a polished defensive stopped who would guard an All-Star in a playoff game. Most talent evaluators seem to view Ball as a top five pick in the draft, and Vitale has no real reason to doubt that assessment.

And if Vitale’s point is that LaVar should stop talking until his son shows himself to be as good a player as LaVar thinks… well, yeah. But we should probably leave Lonzo out of it.

Somehow, LaVar Ball has turned even over-enthusiastic Dick Vitale into a hater. Incredible.

Of course, LaVar set his son up for this kind of scrutiny when he decided he wanted to be a recurring subject on sports talk shows. He who giveth hot takes often receiveth hot takes in return.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com, the Hartford Courant, Baseball Prospectus, Land of 10 and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • m j

    If Lonzo played for Duke Dickie V would be all over his jock.

    • Ceddybear

      Sooooooooooooooo your assessment over the shoe, the annoying father, and the unproven yet highly anticipated Lonzo article, is to make reference that Dick Vitals likes Duke ‘s program? I don’t agree with grading his defense JUST yet, but I agree that Lonzo will enter the league as the most HATED player before he shoots 1 ball, thanks to his father!

      • m j

        All of the things being said about this family dynamic have been beaten to death I’m upset that Dick went after Lonzo he should have kept his comments strictly about Lavar the Duke comment might have been over the top but this kid has enough on his plate that’s what pissed me off.

    • Reb

      Ignore this clown m j. check out his other comments, he comes out like a real racist “winner” LOL.

      • m j

        Yes please ignore me this is a public forum and if you don’t like my comments that’s perfectly fine and the beauty of it is the fact that your response has absolutely zero effect on me. I have never heard of a racist being a “winner” that must be an internet first congrats I’m sure your parents are very proud.