LaVar Ball’s wife seen in public for first time since stroke

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LaVar Ball, everyone’s favorite over-exposed basketball father, has largely made a name for himself by being a huge jerk. From peddling a pair of $500 shoes to berating a female reporter in a sexist live-TV rant, he’s done plenty to make enemies — even before his son Lonzo has played a single NBA minute with the Lakers.

But beyond the constant boasting, there is one part of LaVar’s life that legitimately humanizes him. While he has hogged the media spotlight over the past several months as Lonzo emerged as a budding star, his wife, Tina, has been as absent as her husband has been omnipresent — until Thursday, when she made a rare public appearance at a basketball game.

In a May ESPN The Magazine feature, her husband had explained why she was out of the spotlight.

In February, Tina Ball suffered a serious stroke, one that kept her in the hospital for more than two months and temporarily cost her the ability to speak. LaVar, who had been an infamously vocal spectator at all of Lonzo’s games, didn’t attend UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky — their biggest game of the year — to care for his ailing wife. (He apparently still managed to watch the game, blaming his son’s “slow white guy” teammates for the loss.)

But Thursday, Tina made her first public appearance since suffering the stroke, appearing with her husband at a Big Ballers AAU game. The youth basketball team was founded by LaVar and Tina and features the couple’s youngest son, LaMelo.

Video shows Tina embracing and shaking hands with several spectators, using a cane to support her as she walked slowly around the arena.

It’s clear her health has not completely returned, but the fact she was able to attend her son’s game shows that she is making progress. According to ESPN The Magazine, Tina used to be just as vocal of a spectator as her husband during their sons’ games. Thursday’s was the first game she was able to attend since she fell ill.

While negative press has dogged the Ball family over the past several months, their commitment to helping their ailing mother has been well-reported.

“You get a sense that there’s a genuine commitment to family and hard work,” Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said of LaVar to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd. “The way [the sons] care for their mom, Tina who’s had some medical things come up. … You left and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is a really impressive family.’”

Of his wife, LaVar told ESPN The Magazine: “She’s the one. Just so smooth. She’s not like other girls. She’s tough, smart, pretty. I told my wife, ‘I been with you so long, you can have one eye drooped and your mouth over here like this and you’re still beautiful to me. I look at you the same way. That ain’t gonna never change.’”



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