Magic Johnson welcomes Lonzo Ball to the Lakers

Lonzo Ball is expecting to hear his name called Thursday when the Los Angeles Lakers make the second overall pick in the NBA Draft, and is already trying to get LeBron James to join him.

After meeting with the Lakers twice and notably not publicly meeting with other teams, Ball's gamble appeared to pay off when he heard his name called by National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York on Thursday night.

At UCLA, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game in 35.1 minutes per game. Moments after it became a reality at the draft in New York, LaVar pulled on a purple-and-gold hat featuring the logo of his Big Baller Brand company - and then vowed Lonzo will lead the Lakers back to the playoffs next season as a rookie. Ball, a Chino Hills native who excelled in his one year with the Bruins, had been widely projected by most experts as the team's likely pick with the No. 2 selection.

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Following a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Preakness, Always Dreaming skipped the final leg of the Triple Crown . He also finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby and also had a dud in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth when he finished seventh.

The Lakers traded former lottery pick D'Angelo Russell earlier this week, opening the door for Ball to start. Ball raised his family in the Los Angeles suburbs.

But as great as Ball was on the court, it's his father LaVar who has garnered most of the attention for his eye-opening comments, comparing his son to the likes of Steph Curry and Jason Kidd.

  • Regina Holmes