LaMelo Ball ran over foot of child seeking autograph, lawsuit alleges

The videos are abundant. LaMelo Ball speeds out of the Charlotte Hornets' player parking lot after a game, hits the gas and runs the first red light on the street. Fans line the parking lot, hoping against hope that Ball or a teammate will slow down, roll down a window and sign whatever is handed to him.

Angell Joseph was one of the hopefuls on Oct. 7, 2023, and according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Mecklenburg County Superior Court in North Carolina, Ball ran over her foot and broke it. Joseph was 11 at the time and was trying to get an autograph outside Spectrum Center Arena after the team's Purple and Teal Day, an annual practice designed to build fan support ahead of the regular season.

Instead, the lawsuit says, Ball ran over Joseph's foot, failing to “yield to a pedestrian” or “apply his brakes in time to avoid an accident.” The lawsuit says Joseph suffered injuries that took several months to heal and damages totaling more than $25,000.

“[Angell] It was like, 'LaMelo, I love you.' I love you, sign my… give me your autograph. Can you sign it for me?'” Joseph's mother, Tamaria McRae, told Charlotte station WSOC-TV.

The lawsuit also takes aim at the Hornets, alleging that the team failed to provide adequate security and pedestrian control measures in the players' parking lot.

Ball, of course, is the youngest of three brothers who became wildly popular while performing at Chino Hills High. Ball scored 92 points in a high school game, skipped college to play on professional teams in Lithuania at age 16 and Australia at age 18 before the 2020 NBA draft, when the Hornets selected him third overall. general.

Meanwhile, he resisted the notoriety orchestrated by his bombastic father, LaVar Ball, which began when Ball's older brother, Lonzo, became a star, and has never let up. LaVar launched the Big Baller merchandise brand and a family reality show on Facebook.

But for all of LaVar's bragging and outrageous claims, two of his sons became NBA stars (the middle son, LiAngelo, 25, has played in the NBA G League and in Mexico). Lonzo and LaMelo, however, have battled injuries, which LaVar attributes to “their teams' workouts.”

Lonzo, who spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers and now plays for the Chicago Bulls, has been sidelined for more than two years with a left knee injury that required three surgeries. LaMelo, 22, has played in just 58 games over the past two seasons due to a succession of ankle injuries, although he is very effective on the court, with career averages of 20 points and 7.4 assists per game.

More pressing for LaMelo might be the injury suffered by Joseph and the lawsuit alleging Ball's driving caused it. McRae says the long recovery has taken an emotional toll on his son, who is now 12 years old.

“For a while, I couldn't even recognize who my son was because, like depression, I couldn't go out and play,” McRae told WSOC. “When you see your children hurt, it hurts you.

“It has been hard. It has been very hard. I want to say that I am a strong person. This broke me. This right here, he really did it.”

Ball, who has 10.1 million followers on Instagram and signed a five-year, $260 million contract extension last summer, has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

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