When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, the transaction had a storybook feel.
Here was a local legend who had played at Chino Hills High School and UCLA, drafted to help restore a historic franchise to proper heights.
“It was nice to play at home,” Ball said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. “My whole family was here — family and friends — coming to games.”
Two years later, the story took a turn. Ball landed in New Orleans as part of the Lakers’ acquisition of Anthony Davis.
“It was different for me,” Ball said. “I know it’s part of the business, but it was the first time I felt like somebody didn’t really want me in a way, I guess. But it was Anthony Davis, so there was no shame in that. He’s one of the best players to ever play.
“So for myself, BI (Brandon Ingram), and Josh Hart as well, we were happy to get to a new situation and have a start-over moment. I think it helped my career personally. In the long run, it made me a better person and a better player.”