FILE - In this June 23, 2017, file photo, LaVar Ball, right, father of Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Lonzo Ball, listens to his son during the NBA basketball team's news conference in El Segundo, Calif. Ball questioned the extent of President Donald Trumpâs involvement in securing his sonâs release from the custody of Chinese authorities during a combative 20-minute CNN interview on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
In a heated 20-minute interview, LaVar Ball told CNN host Chris Cuomo that he wouldn’t thank President Donald Trump for helping to bring back his son from China, ultimately coercing Cuomo into thanking him for appearing on CNN instead.
Minutes before thanking Chinese President Xi for his role in freeing his son, Ball said he “doesn’t go around saying thank you,” contesting Trump’s role in freeing his son, LiAngelo, and other UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China, where UCLA was playing an exhibition game against Georgia Tech.
LiAngelo Ball and 2 UCLA Teammates Arrested in China for Shoplifting
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!
Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!
“It wasn’t a big deal because being raised in South Central LA, I’ve seen harsher things — I’ve seen 16 and 17-year-old kids have to go to jail for life that were my friends, doing bad things, making bad decisions, I mean doing stuff that’s harming people,” Ball said. “The way I looked at it was, OK, he shoplifted, he wasn’t physical, we returned it, he fessed up to it. ... It was an impulse thing, a bad decision at a bad time. That’s all it was, for an 18-year-old who’s never done anything wrong, never been late to class, a 4.0 student.”