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Why Lakers aren’t only team De’Aaron Fox wants to make ‘statement’ against

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox drives past Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball at Golden 1 Center on Wednesday in Sacramento.
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox drives past Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball at Golden 1 Center on Wednesday in Sacramento. hamezcua@sacbee.com

De’Aaron Fox hasn’t cut off his hair this season. If he did, it probably wouldn’t make national headlines.

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball doesn’t live in that kind of anonymity. His recent trip to the barbershop warranted an ESPN alert for some reason.

It caused Fox to compare Ball and his family to the Kardashians. Not because Ball or anyone in his family is marrying a famous rapper, but because of the scrutiny and attention Ball receives.

“They’re all being watched,” Fox said. “He got a haircut and people went crazy.”

Fox talked about Ball prior to Wednesday’s game against the Lakers at Golden 1 Center. Fox has known Ball since they were in high school and met his now famous father, LaVar, during their prep days.

Playing the Lakers is big for Fox, and not just because it’s against Ball, who he played against twice in college. Ball’s UCLA team won in the regular season but Fox got the best of Ball as Kentucky eliminated UCLA in the NCAA Tournament.

The Lakers are one of four teams that passed on Fox in June’s NBA draft, so it’s a chance to show the Lakers what they missed out on by taking Ball with the No. 2 pick instead of him. The Kings selected Fox fifth overall.

“I try to do that with every team that passed up on me,” Fox said. “I’m happy with my situation, but at the end of the day those teams had the chance and opportunity to draft me.”

Fox has now played each team that passed on him at least once this season, and the Kings are 2-2 in those games. On Wednesday against the Lakers, he had 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and five turnovers in the Kings’ 113-102 victory.

“I want to make a statement with the Celtics, Lakers, Philly – I guess I kinda did it with Philly, huh?” said Fox, who had the game-winning jump shot against the 76ers. “Nah, I’m just playing with you.”

The Phoenix Suns, who had the fourth pick, also passed on Fox.

Fox said Ball is the same player and person he’s known. Fox added he has a great memory and remembers every play against all opponents. In particular, he recalled a big shot Ball made as proof that he can be an effective shooter in the NBA even though he’s struggled this season.

“He hit a step-back 3 from damn near halfcourt in Lexington, so he can shoot the ball,” Fox said of Ball, who had 11 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds Wednesday.

These days it’s hard for Fox to escape all the attention on Ball or his father, who is currently a prime target of President Donald Trump on Twitter.

“I’m not going to say I was following it,” Fox said of the controversy. “But I wake up in the morning, it’s 8 a.m. and the first thing I see trending is that, so you see it.”

Fox said he never bought into the idea Ball was ducking him when injuries kept the Laker out of summer league and preseason games against the Kings.

“It’s funny,” Fox said. “Social media, you see a lot of small things like that blow up. It’s hilarious.”

Kind of like a haircut being a big deal.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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