Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball’s appeal has crossed over to baseball. In fact, one of the best relief pitchers in baseball today, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen counts Ball as among the figures he looks up to.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN recently caught up with Jansen, and one of the topics that stood out in the conversation was how enamored Jansen is of the former UCLA Bruin.
“I feel like Zo, if he really wants it, his future is so bright. He has so many good people with him, he could become one of the greatest in his era. I really believe this guy could be as good as Steph Curry is, because of his passing and vision. He can be unbelievable.”
Kenley Jansen may be getting ahead of himself by projecting Ball’s NBA career to have the same path as that of two-time league MVP Curry, but that could be taken with a grain of salt, considering it’s coming from a baseball player and a diehard Lakers fan.
Lonzo Ball has yet to play in a single regular season NBA game but the hype and expectations just keep on growing and mounting for the rookie, and Jansen is completely buying it all. Jansen didn’t mention it in the interview, but what Ball is going through is sort of similar to the treatment Los Angeles gave Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in his rookie season in 1981, when the city was engulfed in Fernandomania.
Like most Lakers fans, Jansen is hoping that Ball would be the messiah the franchise needs to save it from the mediocrity it has endured the past few years.