Tina Ball is an American former collegiate basketball player, who gained public interest when she became the wife of American former professional footballer Lavar Ball, and subsequently for being the mother of professional basketball player Lonzo Ball.
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Early Life and Family, Education
Christina Catherine Slatinsky was born on 11 December 1967, in Miami, Florida to parents Robert and Catherine Slatinsky. Little else is known about her early life, except that she matriculated from Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California in 1987, and was awarded a college scholarship due to her outstanding basketball skills in high school.
In fact, she was chosen as one of the All-Baseline League in her senior year. She played in the California State University’s Golden Eagles Women’s basketball for four years, and left ranking 8th in scoring with 935 points, fifth in blocks with 60, fourth in rebounds with 627 and eighth in free throws with 120. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from California State University in 1991, but didn’t pursue a career in professional basketball.
Instead, Tina pursued a career in sport not as a player or a coach, but as an Athletic Director at Vernon Middle School in Montclaire, California.
She is also part of her family’s reality online show entitled, “Ball in the Family.”
Tina met Lavar Ball when he transferred from Washington State to California State University, and married her college sweetheart in 1997 – Lavar said during an interview that he knew the moment he met her that she’s the one he wants to marry and will produce three sons who will dominate the sport of basketball.
Four years into marriage she had the three sons, namely Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo. All her children are into basketball, with the first two playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the youngest has just finished playing professional basketball in Australia. It seemed that her husband’s declaration when they were still dating is coming true.
Lonzo was the second overall pick at the 2017 NBA Draft, and went to Los Angeles Lakers, but was traded in 2019 as part of a package with New Orleans Pelicans to get Anthony Davis. LiAngelo is playing for the Oklahoma City Blue under the NBA G League, a minor league that offers select contracts to those who do not want or cannot attend a college, and are not yet eligible to enter the NBA Draft. LaMelo is now predicted to be in the top five picks in the coming NBA Draft 2020.
In February 2017 Tina suffered a stroke. and as a result had difficulty speaking and walking.
At first, the outspoken Lavar and her sons never talked about it, but eventually did in a few interviews. It affected the whole family, as she keeps them together, and Lonzo said, ‘When she went down, it was tough for everybody. That’s the first time I’ve seen my dad cry. It was tough on the family…’
She is now doing great, even going to her sons’ basketball games. Her recovery was documented in their online reality show, “Ball in the Family.”
Who is Lavar Ball?
Lavar Christopher Ball was born on 23 October 1967, and he is an American businessman, who established the Big Baller Brand (BBB) and a former professional American Footballer. He played football in high school and basketball in college, then after graduation was part of the practice squad football team of the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers in the National Football League, but wasn’t given the opportunity to play in an official game. He then went on to play with the London Monarchs in the World League of American Football for a short period of time, and then retired from playing professional sport.
In 2017, he rose to prominence by making audacious statements that made national headlines in sports news, about the basketball skills of his eldest son, Lonzo, even before he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was entertaining to some, but equally irritating to others – he knew how to stir up the media, and put a spotlight on his son. Lavar said that his son is better than the two‑time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Steph Curry. It somehow worked for their brand, but also placed a target on his son’s back. His parenting skills were put in question as it seemed he was putting so much pressure on his children. He even removed his youngest son, LaMelo, from his high school so that he could train him personally.
Some people appreciated his fatherly attention, but others criticized it for fear that it may ruin the future careers of his sons, and that he is trying to get rich through his sons.
Lavar co-founded the Big Baller Brand, and is currently the CEO of the sports clothing and merchandise company. He believed in the power of Lonzo’s branding, so he passes up any chances of his son signing with big rubber shoe companies such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. Lavar continued with his dream of making Lonzo as powerful as Michael Jordan’s brand. Most sports insiders regard him as an unnecessary baggage that comes with his son whichever team he would belong to.
They released Lonzo’s signature sneakers with an atrociously expensive price tag, however, many complaints had been filed against the company, and it was given an F-rating by the Better Business Bureau. The complaints were that they couldn’t deliver any product on time, the customers received the wrong merchandise, or they didn’t receive anything at all. Later on, Lonzo cut ties with Baller Brand co-founder Alan Foster for allegedly stealing $1.5 million from the company. He then stopped wearing the Baller shoes. and wore different Nike shoes in his games.
Lavar and his family talked about the situation, and decided that they might be folding the business soon.
Interesting Facts and Rumors
- Tina’s second son, LiAngelo, and two other teammates were arrested for stealing a pair of sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton boutique shop in Shanghai, China in 2017, a few days before the opening of the regular season of UCLA basketball games. They were only released when President Donald Trump interceded for them.
- When Tina was recovering from her stroke, it was said that Lavar was very strict in helping her get back on her feet, and would say, ‘[Shoot], I’m not waiting all day for you to walk across the street; you better get to moving.’
She is 6ft 1in (1.8m) tall, weighs 130lbs (59kg), and her vital statistics are 33-26-34. Tina is Caucasian and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
According to sources, her net worth is estimated at $5 million as of May 2020.