July 10, 2017
Sports Insider Weekly
Photos: Markelle Fultz and Edward Martinez1
Venus Williams has been under pressure lately, and not just on the court. The 37-year old tennis star was involved in a car accident in Florida on June 9th, in which her SUV struck another vehicle. On June 29th police claimed that Williams was at fault in the collision, which led to the death of a 78-year old man. When asked about the incident at a Wimbledon press conference last week, a visibly distraught Venus had to excuse herself and regain her composure before returning to answer non-accident related questions.
Later, in a Facebook post, Williams wrote: “I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson, and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”
But last Friday, the elder Williams sister was exonerated by video footage showing her black SUV lawfully entering the intersection and then slowly doing for a car that turned in front of her. Once clear, she proceeded to move forward to clear the intersection. However, while Venus was waiting her light had turned red; the Hyundai, carrying the injured passenger, entered in the intersection at 25mph, slamming into the SUV and causing the traumatic injuries which led to Mr. Barson’s death.
Barson’s family is suing Williams for wrongful death, though it is unclear if they plan to move forward with their lawsuit after recent developments.
Despite the turmoil in her personal life, Williams is focused on the court. She breezed past 19-year old Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-2 on Monday to become the oldest Wimbeldon quarterfinalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994.
Williams will next face 20-year old French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday morning. The young Latvian tennis star bested Italy’s Camila Giorgi 7-5, 7-5, on Monday to meet Venus in the semi-finals.
If you read NBA headlines, you may think LaVar Ball is the Los Angeles Lakers’ newest recruit.
Despite making the night show rounds, he’s actually the father of the Lakers’ top draft pick – Lonzo Ball. On June 22 the younger Ball was selected with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and on July 3, he signed a four-year rookie scale contract with Los Angeles.
Lonzo’s father has been vocal about his sons talents, making bold statements about his son’s upcoming NBA season. He even went so far as to claim at the NBA Rookie of the Year award is Lonzo’s to lose.
“Rookie of the Year? It’s already a done deal,” LaVar Ball said in an ESPN broadcast. “I got the trophy already. Hey, Rookie of the Year – how could he not be?”
LaVar only had encouraging words to say after his son’s awful NBA Summer League debut where the 19-year old shot an abysmal 2-for-15 from the floor.
“He don’t be discouraged because that’s the worst he can do,” the elder Ball said. “He can’t go but up. And he still kept them in the game playing his worst game ever. That’s what I like about it.”
The former UCLA player showed his resilience a day later, when he made a 3-pointer on his first shot early in Saturday’s game, and finished with a triple-double, 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Whether or not Lonzo Ball is the NBA’s next big thing remains to be seen. For now, all that is certain is his father’s big mouth–and strong statements.