PHOENIX — Lonzo Ball learned some time ago that one of the keys to avoiding distractions was to disable notifications on his phone and avoid social media.
“I usually just stay off of it,” he said, “so if you don’t go on it you can’t see it.”
So the Lakers rookie point guard was blissfully unaware as he and his family kept popping up early on Monday. President Trump reportedly intervened in his brother’s shoplifting case, LeBron James paid him the highest compliment and Magic Johnson weighed in on concerns over his shooting form.
Oh, and his stat line from his first career triple-double changed.
All before lunch.
Don’t worry, he still recorded a triple-double.
Ball had heard none of this as he went through the Lakers morning shootaround in Phoenix before their game against the Suns on Monday night. Before speaking to the media, Ball huddled with Lakers director of media relations Alison Bogli. She gave him a quick update so Ball would be ready when he was asked about The Washington Post report that Trump asked China’s President Xi Jinping to help free the three UCLA players being held in Hangzhou.
“Alison just informed me of that right now,” Ball said. “Hopefully everything works out.”
Coach Luke Walton agreed that it was surreal to have the President of the United States involved in a matter that tangentially relates to his basketball team, although Ball seemed less affected by it.
“Hopefully he helps him,” Ball said.
Then there was James, whose 12-year-old record for youngest player to record a triple-double was eclipsed by Ball on Saturday in Milwaukee. Turns out, official scorekeepers shorted Ball one rebound and gave him an extra blocked shot against the Bucks. His revised line is 19 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
That’s the one for the history books. At least the ones that haven’t already been printed like, uh, newspapers.
“First of all, congratulations to him,” James told reporters in…