LEXINGTON, Ky. — Whether he likes it or not, De’Aaron Fox recognizes that his name and Lonzo Ball’s often will appear in the same sentence for years to come.
After two Kentucky-UCLA meetings in college and a war of words between their fathers since then — plus Ball sitting out (ducking?) his NBA Summer League rematch with Fox — the two top-five draft picks are stuck with each other.
“I know we’re going to be linked our whole careers just because we played each other twice here in college and now we’re Kings [Fox] and Lakers [Ball] and will play a couple times a season,” Fox said Tuesday back at Kentucky, where he was working at a youth camp. “Do I consider it a rivalry? I mean, I don’t know. You’re going to play great point guards all season.”
That’s the thing about Fox and Ball. They rarely fuel this supposed rivalry themselves. But LaVar Ball, the controversial patriarch of the Big Ballers Brand, has taken repeated shots at Fox and said no one would even know who he was if it weren’t for his 39 points against Lonzo’s UCLA team in the Sweet 16.
Fox’s father, Aaron, stayed in the background throughout his son’s lone season at Kentucky — only popping up in the media recently to respond to the elder Ball.
“Y’all got lucky,” Fox told reporters in Lexington on Tuesday. “If y’all would’ve seen him [when I was] in high school, it would’ve been crazy. He’s really calmed down. He’s chilled. But he doesn’t have to say anything. It’s not about the parents.”
Amen to that.