As LaVar Ball continues to pick fights with just about everyone in or near a stadium or ESPN satellite office in “defense” of his son Lonzo, another superstar athlete’s father has coughed up some wisdom about rooting on an overachieving child. Mike Bryant, the progenitor of extremely good Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, has a simple message for LaVar and other parents who may be a bit too vocal in defending their kids: Shut up and let your kid’s play do the talking.
“The guy is going to ruin it for his kids,” Mike said in reference to LaVar during an interview with ESPN 1000. “I mean that in a sympathetic/empathetic way. Let his kids go out there and play and let the rest happen. But to compare him to Michael Jordan and better than Steph Curry? Come on, that’s disrespecting those guys. If I had 5 minutes with him and I could get him to listen for 2 of them, I think I could get him to think a little bit.”
Mike’s comments are refreshing, as he acknowledges overbearing parents tend to have a negative impact on their kids, even if they mean well. Throughout his son’s career, Mike has demonstrated how to be a supportive parent without wandering into psycho helicopter parent territory. Instead of spending his time playing spittle catch with Stephen A. Smith, Mike boosted his son’s career by working on his swing — since he was 5. When Kris participated in the Home Run Derby last year, he asked his father to pitch to him.
At just 25 years old, Kris Bryant has already had a hell of a career. In the last year alone, he has been voted MVP and played an essential role in the Cubs winning the World Series, breaking baseball’s last remaining curse. With such an accomplished son, Mike is positioned to hog the spotlight or try to monetize his relationship. To date, he hasn’t done so. He also hasn’t claimed that Bryant is better than Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Pablo Sanchez put together. Mike doesn’t put extra pressure on his son because it doesn’t help.
Convinced you are raising the next LeBron James, Ronaldo, or Serena Williams? Do yourself (and the kid) a favor and just let the game happen. Talented athletes have a tendency to win. It’s pretty much as simple as that. And as much as you think you’re setting your kid up for future success, it’s far more likely you’re just embarrassing the shit out them.