Whether one is watching them on television, monitoring their social media profiles or wearing their paraphernalia, Lavar Ball and Donald J. Trump are arguably the two most discussed men in America. One is at the helm of the free world, vowing to make this country great again, while the other thinks he’s the greatest father, husband and ‘big baller’ from here to Lithuania. These two are internationally known for many of the same reasons: being loud, pervasive and braggadocios. They each can get under a person’s skin at times, but neither of them care. Their feud over who helped release whom from a Chinese prison overshadowed how Trump and Ball are more alike than they are enemies. If the similarities weren’t glaring enough, this post will clear a few things up about how a 71-year-old billionaire from Queens is comparable to a black father of three professional athletes from Chino Hills, California. The 24/7 surveillance of both Ball and Trump, their worldwide image from entrepreneurial business strategies and eerily similar personalities depict most why these two could stand in for one another.
Wall-to-wall coverage on TV and social media is how most people followed both Ball and Trump’s lives in 2017. It didn’t matter why we tuned in, we monitored them regardless of the circumstance. Turning on ESPN to see sports analysts debate whether or not Ball is a good father happened as often as checking Twitter to see if President Trump had insulted Kim Jong-un. MSNBC and CNN boast 24-hour broadcast news cycles, but when the majority of that coverage is reactions to what the President said or did, its viewers can’t ever escape him. Lonzo Ball, Lavar’s son who is the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, could be out with an ankle injury for five games or he could have a triple-double. How he fares doesn't matter either way because his dad would be the most discussed Sportscenter subject that night or the next morning. One can keep up with the Ball’s each Sunday on their Facebook reality show or login to Twitter for @realdonaldtrump updates pretty much all day. The extensive coverage on Trump and Ball not only demonstrates the day-to-day surveillance, but it also spotlights the brands that they’ve each used to rise to stardom.
The Trump and Ball brands, including luxury living quarters and high-priced footwear, are synonymous with the businessman who started them. Before Trump got to the White House there was Trump International Hotel, Trump Entertainment Resorts and Trump University. The Big Baller Brand (BBB) was created months before Lavar’s eldest child was picked second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. These businesses are not solely a hotel chain and apparel merchandising company, but they are also global empires that were established before the two CEOs reached their pinnacles of success. Say what you want about the way these two individuals conduct business with foreign governments or run their kids’ lives, Ball and Trump portray the same entrepreneurial mentality. One that has worked just fine thus far. The Ball and Trump family businesses reveal their like-minded approaches, but when examining the two men further it’s clear that many of their actions are the same as well.
Ball and Trump seek attention even when they know they’d garner it anyway, and their method of manipulating the system is identical. They find a way to place the limelight on themselves while choosing an opponent to pick on. With respect to Trump, the fourth estate’s duty has always been to cover what the President does, but in order to make his Presidency more newsworthy, Trump goes after the media. When Trump coined the phrase “fake news,” it started a never-ending (so far) war between the press and the President. Ultimately, placing all eyes on Trump. At the same time, during Ball’s coming out party, he appeared on ESPN’s First Take and told Stephen A. Smith that he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one because MJ is too "small." Ball and Trump’s segments make for must-see TV, which is exactly what they want. Since Ball and Trump’s sound bites go viral and the news discusses and/or criticizes the two of them everyday, it works in accordance with their plot. They essentially only conduct interviews with those who favor them, and attack those that contradict them. Trump and Ball’s need for an adversary, particularly the media, mirrors each other. Perhaps this is why their feud was so entertaining.
The bottom line is that as long as TV and social media are around, the Ball/Trump chronicles will continue throughout 2018 and beyond. Even if one deactivates his/her Twitter, a person can still check-in to a Trump residence or browse BBB pop-up shops for pairs of $400 sneakers. No matter how you slice it, whether it be business wise or personality wise, these two might be “cut from the same cloth.”