Is LaMelo a nickname?
No. LaMelo Ball that is, new signing for the Illawarra Hawks. Before LeBron, before LaShawn, Marshawn and DeShawn, before Damore'ea Stringfellow, but not as far back as Demetrius of Macedon, there was LaVar.
LaVar Ball, that is, one-time college football and basketballer, heckler of pro sports, man with big plans for his sons Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo.
LaVar loves outlandish hot takes, is one of the loudest voices in sports, started the Big Baller Brand shoe company, and got barred from ESPN for telling a female anchor "you can switch gears with me anytime".
Is LaMelo the shoplifter?
No. Lonzo plays with the New Orleans Pelicans, after being part of a trade for Anthony Davis, infuriating LaVar, who announced Los Angeles would never win without his son, who he had planned to be a Laker great. It didn't turn out that way.
LiAngelo, while on a trip to China in 2017 with the University of California Los Angeles team, was busted shoplifting with two mates. He was kicked off the college team, throwing a spanner in LaVar's plan of having all three boys playing for the Lakers.
After the shoplifting debacle LaVar took LiAngelo and LaMelo to play pro in Lithuania - along with their Facebook reality TV show. This ended LaMelo's college career (must be purely amateur) before it began. He now needs quality league experience to impress scouts before next year's NBA draft. And the Lithuania bridge was burned, as is LaVar's style. So the NBL stepped up to offer a win-win situation (and $100,000).
Is it even basketball season?
The NBA is now a 365-day show. The "season" ended last week with a Toronto Raptors triumph, but there's just as much hype about off-season movement.
Will Kawhi do a John Snow and leave the North, even with his ring? What of KD - will his busted Achilles stop him hooking up with Kyrie, likely in Brooklyn? What of Klay and his ACL, the Knicks, and Kemba?
Sporting codes worldwide would give anything for that kind of exposure in the off-season. It's always ball season, baby.
Exposure? Isn't it all about the Hawks winning games?
The Hawks need drawcards - more than most - to significantly boost crowd numbers. While gritty wins are good for morale, they need to stretch well into the postseason. LaMelo is already super-famous, and sometimes hype can become real value. Plus, who can say they wouldn't be thrilled if Barack Obama followed them on social media? Yes, that Barack Obama. #44.
Is LaVar coming to the Gong?
They say no, but just try and keep the world's most notorious sports dad away. How could he resist?