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Typically on vacation, I love to dive into a good book and read by the pool. Life isn’t ever typical though when you have an active and busy little one running around. So instead of heavy reading, I opted for a couple of magazines.
Since I am a huge sports fan, I was reading through an ESPN magazine. I came across an article about LaVar Ball. Honestly, I read the article because it was my only reading material at the time in the hot tub. Otherwise, I would have skipped it since I find him to be a blowhard.
If you’re unfamiliar with him, he’s been in the news recently as the father of NBA prospect, Lonzo Ball. Lonzo is a projected top draft pick from UCLA. The reason why his father, LaVar, has garnered fame is due to the outlandish things that he has recently said.
Some Infamous Quotes
Here’s a sample of some of his soundbites over the past couple of months.
“I’ll tell you right now, he’s [his son, Lonzo’s] better than Steph Curry to me.”
I understand fully supporting your child. But to say that at 19 years old, Lonzo is better than Steph Curry, who is a two-time MVP and winner of a NBA championship, with the potential to win another one this season, is a bit far-fetched to me. Not to mention that Steph Curry may be one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. But it doesn’t stop there.
“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.”
He can’t be serious. Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. LaVar Ball averaged 2.2 points per game at Washington State University during the 1987-1988 season. Shortly afterwards, he transferred to a Division II school, which is considered a step-down in competition.
During that same 1987-1988 season, Michael Jordan averaged 35 points a game and received the accolade of MVP of the league.
Provocative and Confident
Clearly LaVar Ball loves to say provocative things and in turn, the news cycle loves him. It’s not unlike the media’s obsession with the Kardashians or other reality TV stars.
Even just recently, LaVar introduced his son’s new basketball shoes, which will go on sale for the low low price of $495.
Okay, who is going to pay that much money for sneakers from someone who hasn’t played a single minute of NBA basketball? Maybe only sneaker-heads, who think these are limited edition or especially valuable. I’m not sure the shoes will shoot up in value, but I hope I’m wrong for the sake of whoever buys these!
So I’ve probably convinced most of you that LaVar Ball is a different individual. But how does this deal with finances?
Words Have Power
During the interview with ESPN, he kept repeating the phrases, “I’m going to speak it into existence,” and “Keep talking about it until it happens.”
Back in February of 2017, LaVar Ball proclaimed that his son was going to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. He even went so far to say, “My son will only play for the Lakers.”
At the time, the LA Lakers only had a 30% chance of drafting in the top two picks, and Lonzo was projected to go #2 overall in the NBA draft. So, the chances were low that they Lakers would realistically draft him. But, in the end, the Lakers did get the #2 pick overall and will most likely select Lonzo.
Admittedly, that shocked me. LaVar had the opposite response. He gloated as he said that he had spoken it into existence.
So it got me thinking. Is there anything behind speaking things into existence and talking about something until it finally happens?
What the Experts Say
According to Shad Helmstetter in the book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself,
“The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”
He goes on to say, “After examining the philosophies, the theories, and the practiced methods of influencing human behavior, I was shocked to learn the simplicity of that one small fact: You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming – what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself.
It is no longer a success theory; it is a simple but powerful fact. Neither luck nor desire has the slightest thing to do with it. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”
First Person Pronoun
According to psychologist Ethan Kross, during self-talk, using your name or a first person pronoun such as “you” or “he” may help to control your emotions.
“What we find,” Kross says, “is that a subtle linguistic shift — shifting from ‘I’ to your own name — can have really powerful self-regulatory effects.”
“We’ve done studies that look at exactly that phenomenon,” says Kross. “And your experience is borne out by our data. It’s almost like you are duping yourself into thinking about you as though you were another person.”
Some Positive Self-Trickery
“When dealing with strong emotions, taking a step back and becoming a detached observer can help,” Kross explains. “It’s very easy for people to advise their friends, yet when it comes to themselves, they have trouble. But people engaging in this process, using their own first name, are distancing themselves from the self, right in the moment, and that helps them perform.”
By speaking positive self-talk, the individual is more likely to achieve their dreams. As I wrote about before in my post, You Are Your Greatest Enemy, too often we let negative emotions overrun our hopes and dreams. In turn, we prevent ourselves from reaching our full potential.
So while I may not buy that LaVar Ball spoke his son’s destiny into existence per se, I do put credence into the encouragement that his son received through positive self-talk. Because of his father’s abounding support and confidence in him, I believe Lonzo is reaping some tremendous benefits. I also believe “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). The same mechanism that can build someone up can tear them down in a moment. That is some power.