LaVar's Greatest Gift

Belief. It is the single most identifiable quality of a winner. We are all blessed with vision and we somehow already know deep down what we truly desire to become; but far too often, our innate vision is suppressed by fear and doubt.

What you focus on tends to manifest. If you’re at the free throw line and your thinking “you can’t miss, don’t leave it short!” The most likely outcome is the shot clanking off front rim.

Many of us suffer from these negative thinking patterns and involuntarily fall victim to the outcomes they produce. Positivity, and focusing on the only outcome that you desire will increase the chances of it happening.


When I was a sophomore in college, I fell victim to the fear of failure again and again. And it wasn’t only failure; it was also the fear of the ridicule that followed.

My mentor, world-renowned Performance Psychologist Ken Baum, would lead through psychological meditations and visualizations. He helped me identify and understand my number one challenge, the fear of failure. Together, we developed a mental strategy to eliminate this fear and focus only on my desired outcome: success. I became completely free on the basketball floor and ultimately became one of the best, if not the best shooter in college basketball!

Humans are the only species that get in the way of their own success. This is a result of our self-awareness. The most important thing a parent can instill in their child is a positive self-image.

LaVar Ball has been at the center of controversy since his son, Lonzo Ball, became a star at UCLA and later getting drafted to the Los Angeles Lakers. There are many things that Lavar has done and said that I don’t agree with, but as a father, he has given his children the greatest gift he could give, BELIEF & VISION!

In a society that profits from our self-doubt, we are conditioned to settle for mediocrity. Instead, he instilled in his children an undeniable belief that they will become anything they want, as long as they take the necessary steps to get there. In addition, he taught his sons the value of ownership and they are working to break through the glass ceiling against black wealth and ownership in sports. This can be the catalyst that helps restructure the social and political structure that we see today. Social and political liberation can never happen until economic liberation is achieved.

Everything starts with a belief. Instill belief in your friends, family, and children. You may not be the one to change the world, but you may inspire the one who does. Belief is the long-term remedy!

Ryan Sypkens