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Trump vs. Ball proves to be explosive

Trump vs. Ball proves to be explosive
November 30
04:00 2017

Earlier this month while preparing to play a basketball game in China, three UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) players were questioned in suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Shanghai.  After being placed on house arrest in the team hotel, the players were allowed to return to the United States and have subsequently been suspended indefinitely from the team.

The incident received a lot of press especially because one of the players accused was LiAngelo Ball, son of the outspoken LaVar Ball.  Following the release of the students, President Trump predictably went to Twitter and took credit for the players being allowed to return to school by asking Chinese President Xi Jinping to look into the issue, according to Trump.

On Nov. 15 he posted this on his Twitter page, “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?  They were headed for 10 years in jail.”  Upon coming home, a press conference was held where all three players in fact did thank the president for his involvement with their release from China.

I wanted to write a column once I heard about the story in anticipation of a LaVar Ball comment but decided to wait until he in fact made a comment.  Ball did not let me down as he quickly answered the Tweet of Trump by denouncing any involvement the President had in the release of the players.

“Did [Mr. Trump] help the boys get out?  I don’t know,” he told CNN’s Chris Coumo.  He went on to say if he were to thank anyone it would be Mr. Xi.  “It wasn’t like [Mr. Trump] was in the US and said, OK there’s three kids in China.  I need to go over and get them.  That wasn’t the thought process,” he continued.

In typical Trump fashion he did not let the issue die there.  He continued to send out Tweets in the days to follow saying “You’re welcome” when they actually did apologize.  Ball has continued to make it clear to all that will listen that he does not feel he owes the president anything.

On Nov. 19 Trump responded to Ball by saying, “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!”

The back and forth continued as Ball quickly clapped back by saying, “That’s on your mind, that a father didn’t say ‘Thank you?’ And you’re the head of the U.S.? asked Ball.  “Come on. There’s a lot of other things that’s going on.  Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son, and lets just stay in our lane.”

In the press conference held for the players following their arrival back to campus along with thanking Trump the players also apologized for their behavior.  Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were the three players detained and all three have been suspended indefinitely from the team.  No timetable was given for their return by head coach Steve Alford.

This war of words doesn’t seem to be quite over yet as both men seem to want to have the last word.  Who knows how long and far this will go.  A better question would be why would LiAngelo feel the need to steal a pair of sunglasses with the success the Ball family has achieved with the Big Baller Brand.

The eldest Ball son, Lonzo of the Los Angeles Lakers, has had little to say about the issue.  It is easy to conclude he was instructed by Laker upper management to deflect as much attention away from the issue as possible.

With the personalities of both men being as outspoken as they are I’m sure more fireworks are to follow.  I guess we all should just stay tuned to see how it all unfolds.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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