LaMelo Ball is going to be great. Write it down in ink, get tattoos and put all your money into his stock.
I knew that before he joined Stan Norfleet and I on Thursday after it was announced he had won the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
Admittedly, I was pretty late to the LaMelo Ball party. My final words on air the night of the 2020 NBA Draft were that I was going to support whatever the Hornets did and then I instructed the Hornets to not draft LaMelo Ball.
Can’t win ’em all, I guess.
LaMelo won me over so quick. The first thing I noticed was his relationship with teammates. Watching him, whether he’s on court or on the bench, you see his ability to connect with his teammates regardless of their age or experience.
His bromance with his oldest teammate, Bismack Biyombo, was incredibly fun to watch unfold this season.
(For what its worth, Bismack told Stan Norfleet and I last week on air that he would like their bromance to be called “La-Mack” because it “sounds like Bismack.” Feel free to use that, we only require 10% royalty on our trademark.)
LaMelo’s maturity was questioned pre-NBA Draft and after watching him and interviewing him multiple times, analysts couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.
We asked LaMelo on Thursday if he had an official reaction to the few negative reactions to him winning the award (including the petulant social media responses by the Minnesota Timberwolves,) LaMelo shook them off. “To be honest, I don’t really worry about other people,” the rookie phenom said before adding who’s opinion did matter to him, “Teammates, family, staff: just, you know, everybody in the circle, that’s really who I worry about. People who really got an opinion that mean something.”
That’s a 19 year old kid saying, and meaning, that. When I was 19 I would’ve picked a fight one way or another. This kid has the “It” factor that we talk about all the time.
Charlotte has seem some really good basketball players come through this town. Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Dell Curry, Muggsy Bogues, Baron Davis, Kemba Walker & Gerald Wallace to name a few. LaMelo Ball has a chance to join that list and join it soon.
In one season, LaMelo Ball put the Charlotte Hornets back on the map. NBA Analysts referred to the team as their “League Pass Favorite” a way to say they were prioritizing watching them despite not being in Charlotte.
Moving forward, the stakes get even more interesting because LaMelo has the style of play & personality other great players are going to want to play with. They might even be willing to come to Charlotte to do it.
Wednesday, LaMelo Ball won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. It shouldn’t be his last significant, not by a longshot: Making the All Star team, Most Improved Player and (maybe one day) Most Valuable Player all are a possibility given the talent level he’s teased.
Grab your popcorn, Charlotte. This is going to be a lot of fun.
Listen to LaMelo Ball’s full interview with Nick Wilson and Stan Norfleet below. Check out Nick Wilson and Stan Norfleet every weekday from 2-6 pm Eastern on Sports Radio FNZ. You can also follow the guys @NickWilsonSays @StanSportsMan on Twitter and Instagram.