The current research examined LaVar Ball’s usage of sports media to build an agenda for the press coverage of his sons—Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball. Specifically, this research conducted a critical discourse analysis of 50 televised interviews on CBS Sports, CNN, ESPN, and Fox Sports to determine if LaVar’s media messages (a) incorporated Lang and Lang’s (1983) six-step process of agenda building, (b) discussed inequities facing Black athletes in sports, and (c) offered a positive counterstereotype to historic media representations of Black fathers. The analysis determined that LaVar followed all six steps of Lang and Lang’s agenda-building model in his promotions of the Ball brothers and Big Baller Brand. In addition to endorsing his sons, LaVar addressed class inequities facing Black athletes in amateur and professional sports and refuted deadbeat-dad stereotypes facing Black fathers. Ultimately, this study revealed how LaVar used agenda-building tactics to engage prominent media outlets and formally introduce the Ball brothers to a global audience.


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pp. 201-232
Launched on MUSE
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