Update President Donald Trump continued his feud with basketball dad LaVar Ball, suggesting Ball’s son and two other Americans should have been left in a Chinese jail until the next presidential trip. Trump said China’s shoplifting punishment of 5-10 years in jail is “as it should be.” See the full tweet below.
Previous President Donald Trump fired back via Twitter today at claims by basketball patriarch LaVar Ball that he didn’t have much to do with helping his son, LiAngelo, escape Chinese justice for shoplifting.
Ball told ESPN yesterday that claims Trump aided UCLA freshman basketballer LiAngelo Ball were making “a big deal out of nothing.”
“Who?” Ball said to ESPN. “What was (Trump) over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
Trump previously boasted via Twitter that the players were facing 10 years in prison before he spoke with China President Xi Jinping. Today, he lashed back at the seemingly ungrateful LaVar Ball.
“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!” thundered Trump.
Here is Trump’s latest tweet:
UCLA basketball team members LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hall were caught shoplifting during UCLA’s trip to China to play a game against Georgia Tech. They were confined to the team hotel while authorities investigated the incident and pondered formal charges. All three players returned to the States this week and are indefinitely suspended by the program.
At a press conference following their return, they thanked Trump for his part in freeing them after the President asked them for kudos via his Twitter account.
However, LaVar Ball apparently wasn’t buying it.
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” Ball told ESPN. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.’ I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.
“Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things and they get stuck on them too long. That’s not me. I handle what’s going on and then we go from there.”
ESPN reported that there was surveillance footage of Ball, Hill and Riley shoplifting from three stores inside a retail center near the team hotel in Hangzhou, China. Sources previously told ESPN that the situation was likely to be resolved in several weeks, but Trump was visiting China and claimed to have brought the matter up with Xi Jinping. Days later, the players were freed.
Reaction’s to Trump’s counter-punch was fierce via Twitter.