(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

LaVar Ball bullied female referee at Las Vegas tournament, had her replaced with male ref

The loudmouth dad of the nascent basketball family threw a fit after a female ref gave him a technical foul

Taylor Link
July 30, 2017 8:45PM (UTC)

LaVar Ball, the patriarch of the Ball family and the Big Baller Brand, sullied his family's name this week after berating a female referee who issued him a technical foul.

Coaching one of his son's teams at a Las Vegas basketball tournament organized by Adidas, Ball became visibly upset with a female referee who typically officiates NCAA Division I women's basketball. The referee gave Ball a technical foul for complaining about a call on the court.


Coaches typically get into feuds with referees during basketball games. Technical fouls are not a rare occurrence. But it was the extent to which Ball went to retake control of the game that shocked everyone. During half-time, Ball reportedly had the tournament organizers remove the female referee from the game and had her replaced with a male ref.

Immediately after the game, Ball went on a misogynistic rant, calling the referee "a woman trying to break into the game."

"I don't care if all girls ref -- if they're good refs," Ball later said. "Let's go ahead and do it. But it's not about tech-ing up and making a scene."

"It's not about me hating that lady or something like that," he added. "She just got caught in a bad place: messing with me. She's good. She's probably a great ref with the women. But this men's stuff? It's a difference between women's basketball and men's basketball. Just because we go like that and don't hit the ball don't mean it's a foul. But don't get your feelings personal. And that's why people were like, 'She's a great ref.' To you, she's a great ref. Not to me. But it's O.K."

The National Basketball Referees Association, a union made up of basketball referees, issued a statement Sunday condemning Ball's actions.





LaVar Ball's eldest son, Lonzo, was drafted this year by the Los Angeles Lakers and is expected to play a major role as a rookie this season.

Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

MORE FROM Taylor LinkFOLLOW taylorlink_

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Adidas Basketball Big Baller Brand Lavar Ball Referee Sports


Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •