President Donald Trump, now back in America after a lengthy diplomatic tour in Asia, is taking credit for getting LaVar Ball’s son and two other UCLA basketball players out of a 10-year prison sentence in China.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted Wednesday morning.
Late to the game and don’t know what the president is talking about?
UCLA announced Tuesday that three of its basketball players, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, had been returned to the United States.
The three had been arrested on charges of shoplifting, in connection with the alleged theft of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in Shanghai.
One of the players, LiAngelo Ball, is notably the son of LaVar Ball and the brother of Lonzo Ball, who is now playing point guard in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Trump and LaVar, who are sometimes compared because of their reality-TV-savvy styles and brash commentary habits, are now linked. TIME declared that “Donald Trump and LaVar Ball Really Do Deserve Each Other” as recently as yesterday.
It’s possible that Trump wants to hear “thank you” not just from the basketball players, but also from the unapologetic LaVar Ball himself.
Trump personally appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the matter while visiting China, CNN reported.
The president’s critics were out in force on social media calling out the tweet.
Others praised Trump and asked that the players “stand up and man up.”