The Los Angeles Lakers will be enforcing a preexisting rule to prevent members of the media from interviewing the guests of the team’s players after games. While previously a rule, the regulation had not been enforced by the organization until now as LaVar Ball’s recent criticisms of Luke Walton forces the team’s hand.
The change in policy was first reported by ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
The rule does not outright ban media members from speaking with the likes of Lonzo Ball’s father, but it does place restrictions that make it difficult to manage after games.
Family, friends and agents wait for players in the seats behind the basket closest to the visiting team’s locker room at the conclusion of games. Interviews conducted in that designated area and near the tunnel leading to the arena corridors are now forbidden.
In prior years, media socialized and, at times, interviewed individuals in that sector without interference. If a media member is recognized in that area now, arena security or Laker staffers direct that he or she leave the area.
“It’s not a new policy; it’s an existing policy,” a team spokesperson told ESPN. “There has been more media presence in that area than before. That section is strictly for family and guests of players. It’s a privacy concern.”
Ball, no stranger to controversy, has recently issued several comments that may have played into this Lakers’ decision to enforce what Staples Center employees are reportedly calling the “LaVar Ball Rule.” In October, amid the rookie point guard’s struggles, the elder Ball criticized the Lakers coaches for being too soft on him. After an overtime loss to the Warriors, Ball criticized Julius Randle for not kicking out a pass at the end of regulation to Ball who may have had an opportunity to score.
LaVar’s antics have not, so far, caused any locker room tension that we know of. But the Lakers are making sure to get out ahead of the problem. That said, preventing interviews immediately after the game will not keep Ball from speaking hours later so it’s unclear if this will have any tangible effects.