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LaVar Ball

George Raveling, the pioneering coach who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame two years ago, is no fan of LaVar Ball, the controversial father of former UCLA star Lonzo Ball.

"Worst thing to happen to college basketball in the last 100 years," Raveling said of Lavar.

George Raveling

Raveling then added that Lonzo Ball, who is headed to the NBA after one season at UCLA, should get automatic entrance into heaven just for having to deal with LaVar being his father.

"Down the hall, to the left and have a suite, son," Raveling said as he imagined how Lonzo would be greeted at the pearly gates.

A headline of a story about LaVar in the current issue of Sports Business Journal poses the question: "Marketing genius or over-involved dad?"

Raveling's assessment of Lonzo as a pro prospect is consistent with most NBA mock drafts.

"I think he'll be a top-three pick," Raveling said.

Raveling spoke Wednesday at the CAA World Congress of Sports in Dana Point, California, where he was among six honorees in this year's class of The Champions. It is an annual award that the Sports Business Journal gives in recognition of pioneers and innovators in sports business.

The others were former Fox Sports executive producer Ed Goren, restaurant entrepreneur Larry Levy, former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, former Phillies and Astros executive Bill Giles and Janet Marie Smith, an architect and urban planner whose sports projects include the building of Camden Yards and the renovations of Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium.

Raveling, 79, was one of the first African-American head coaches in NCAA Division I basketball. He was also an assistant coach twice for the U.S. Olympic team. After a serious car accident ended his coaching career in 1994, Raveling became a global basketball ambassador for Nike.

In addition to his comments about LaVar Ball, Raveling made one intriguing prediction Wednesday: He said the NCAA will have a championship for 3-on-3 basketball in 15 years.