How Did LaVar Ball Meet His Wife Tina?

LaVar Ball is well known throughout the NBA for his sons, his business, and his opinions. But this brash businessman didn’t create his empire on his own. His wife Tina is a big part of who he is and what he’s achieved. 

Where did this extraordinary couple meet, and how did they become such a famous family? Here are the details on Tina and LaVar’s life, as well as an unexpected struggle they’ve faced in the last few years. 

Brought together by a love for the game

LaVar Ball at a basketball game
LaVar Ball | Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

LaVar grew up in LA, where he demonstrated an intense athleticism early on. In high school, he was a star quarterback, but when he was in college he pivoted to playing basketball.

After college he went back to football again, playing for the NFL with the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers. He later played for an American football franchise that was British-based, known as the London Monarchs. 

Tina, who grew up in Florida, never took her eyes off basketball. She went to Cal State on a basketball scholarship. It was during this time that she met LaVar, who had transferred from Washington State.

LaVar decided they would have beautiful basketball players together, and he informed her they would have three sons. She must have agreed with his vision, and together they set out to dominate the game in more ways than one. 

Basketball was the family business

After LaVar retired from football in 1995, the family moved to Los Angeles. He worked as a personal trainer, while Tina was a middle school athletic director. 

Just as LaVar had promised, they had three sons, Lonzo (22), LiAngelo (21), and LaMelo (18). Lonzo was the second draft pick for the LA Lakers in 2017, and he currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. LiAngelo plays in the NBA G League for the Oklahoma City Blue. And LaMelo plays for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League.

In 2016 the couple moved into the world of athletic apparel. LaVar founded the company Big Baller Brand, known as BBB, which often features the Ball brothers in its advertising. Lonzo even passed up on endorsement deals from Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas, choosing to promote BBB instead. The company’s success has been uneven. 

An unexpected challenge

In 2017 Tina experienced a massive stroke. Her recovery has been remarkable, fueled in large part by her determination to do whatever is necessary to heal. Although she wasn’t expected to survive at one point, she not only lived but is now able to walk.

She has been left with expressive aphasia, a condition that makes it hard for her to express herself in spoken words, even though she understands speech.

The family chose to keep Tina’s condition from the public as long as they could. With typical LaVar bluster, when the story did come out his comments shocked some people. He said that he wouldn’t let Tina use a wheelchair in the home, because it would make marks in their home. He claimed to complain to her that she’s walking like an old lady and can’t keep up with him.

People were very uncomfortable with some of his statements, such as when he said: “As long as she can smile, give a kiss and a hug, I’m good.” He went on, “That’s probably why she had the stroke, so she can be quiet for a minute.

It’s always hard to separate LaVar’s brash persona from what he actually thinks. But people who worry might want to remember another thing he had to say shortly after her stroke

“I told my wife, ‘I been with you so long, you can have one eye drooped and your mouth over here like this and you’re still beautiful to me. I look at you the same way. That ain’t gonna never change.'”