LaMelo Ball is back in the United States, and in a bit of a twist, he’s playing high school basketball again. His hoops career brought him to a professional league in Lithuania and his father’s Junior Basketball Association stateside, but this winter, Ball will play high school hoops at SPIRE Institute in Ohio.
Upon word of this dropping, the same question was on everyone’s mind: How, exactly, is this legal? While the school claims he was not compensated during his time in professional leagues, that answer didn’t pass the smell test for a lot of people. Plus, well, he played pro ball then went back to high school, which is odd and certainly something that will lead to scrutiny.
Among those skeptical folks are the decision makers at La Lumiere School, who just happen to be an opponent on SPIRE Institute’s schedule this year. In a statement, the school’s administration said they were not comfortable having their students play against a team with someone who played pro hoops.
“The scholar-athletes at La Lumiere School are here to prepare in every way for success at the college level,” the school said in a statement, per The Times of Northwest Indiana. “We aim to put together as competitive a schedule as possible for our team, but we have never played against a team whose roster included any players who have played at the professional level. With the recent news that someone who has played professionally intends to play for SPIRE Academy, we are not comfortable moving forward with our game slated for next Tuesday against SPIRE.”
The Times went on to report that La Lumiere School had a message on its phone which said the game was canceled and there are no plans to reschedule it. It’ll be interesting to watch if this pops up throughout the year, because it’s hard to imagine that everyone else on SPIRE Institute’s schedule is cool with their new guard.