Yanking LaMelo Ball outta high school was "the smartest move in the world," so says John Salley, who praises LaVar as a visionary who knows how to make great athletes. 

"Smartest people in the world are homeschooled," Salley tells TMZ Sports

"If not, you get shot in school, you gotta get picked on, you gotta worry about clothes, you're not focused."

Of course, LaVar pulled 16-year-old LaMelo out of Chino Hills High School to privately educate and train him. LaVar believes he will better prepare Melo for the NBA this way. 

Salley agrees -- and points to Boris Becker, who dropped out of school in 10th grade to focus on tennis. He won his first Grand Slam at 17 years old. 

"[LaVar is] developing a great athlete."

Remember, Salley might be a bit biased -- he's part of an apparel company that's looking to manufacture shoes for the Big Baller Brand