LaMelo Ball drove over the foot of a boy seeking an autograph, lawsuit alleges

The videos are plentiful. LaMelo Ball speeding out of the Charlotte Hornets’ players parking lot after a game, gunning the accelerator and running the first red light down the street. Fans line the lot, hoping against hope that Ball or a teammate will slow, roll down a window and sign whatever they hand him.

Angell Joseph was one of the hopeful Oct. 7, 2023, and according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Mecklenburg County Superior Court in North Carolina, Ball drove over his foot and he suffered injuries that took several months to heal. Joseph was 11 at the time and attempting to get an autograph outside Spectrum Center Arena after the team’s Purple and Teal Day, an annual scrimmage designed to increase fan support ahead of the regular season.

Instead, the lawsuit says, Ball barreled over Joseph’s foot, failing to “yield the right of way to a pedestrian” or to “apply his breaks in time to avoid an accident.” The lawsuit says Joseph suffered injuries and damages totaling more than $25,000.

“[Angell] 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 targets the Hornets, alleging the team did not provide adequate security and pedestrian control measures at the players’ parking lot.

Ball, of course, is the youngest of three brothers who became wildly popular while starring at Chino Hills High. Ball scored 92 points in one high school game, skipped college in favor of playing for professional teams in Lithuania at age 16 and in Australia at 18 ahead of the 2020 NBA draft, when he was taken third overall by the Hornets.

Meanwhile, he withstood the notoriety orchestrated by his bombastic father, LaVar Ball, that began when the oldest Ball brother, Lonzo, became a star and has never really ceased. LaVar launched the Big Baller Brand of merchandise and a family reality show on Facebook.

But for all of LaVar’s bluster and outrageous assertions, two of his sons became NBA stars (middle son LiAngelo, 25, has played in the NBA G League and in Mexico). Lonzo and LaMelo, however, have battled injuries, which LaVar chalks up to their teams’ ”rooty-toot 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, played in only 58 games the last two seasons because of a succession of ankle injuries, although he is highly effective when on the court, with career averages of 20 points and 7.4 assists a game.

More pressing for LaMelo might be the injury sustained by Joseph and lawsuit alleging that Ball’s driving caused it. McRae says the lengthy recovery has taken an emotional toll on her son, now 12.

“For a while, I couldn’t even recognize who my child was because, like depression, not being able to go outside and play,” McRae told WSOC. “When you see your children hurt, it hurts you.

“It’s been rough. It’s been real rough. I mean like I’m a strong person. This broke me. This right here, it really did.”

Ball, who has 10.1 million followers on Instagram and signed a five-year, $260-million contract extension last summer, has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

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Kevin harson

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