If you’ve been praying for Donald Trump and basketball dad LaVar Ball’s feud to escalate to the next level, your prayers were answered on Sunday, as the president responded to Ball’s no, thank you by saying he should have left his son in China to rot in jail.
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“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!” Trump tweeted.
This was Trump’s response to Ball who, on Saturday, essentially said “Trump who?” when asked about the president’s role in getting his son LiAngelo out of trouble.
This all started, you may recall, when Trump tweeted after returning from Asia that the three UCLA basketball players who got in trouble for shoplifting in China, one of whom being lightning rod LaVar Ball’s son LiAngelo, should thank him for saving them from a decade in prison.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted last Wednesday morning.
The players, for their part, did exactly that at an afternoon press conference the same day.
UCLA ballplayer Cody Riley thanks Pres Trump for intervening to get him and fellow players released from detention in China for shoplifting. "We really appreciate you helping us out," he says of Pres Trump. They apologize for their actions. pic.twitter.com/a1p7QfI5NE
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 15, 2017
“To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” Trump said in reply.
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were returned to the United States after being arrested on charges of shoplifting, in connection with the alleged theft of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in Shanghai. The university later announced that the players would be suspended indefinitely.
Previously, we speculated that it was possible Trump wanted to hear a “thank you” not just from the basketball players, but also from the unapologetic LaVar Ball himself.
The president did not end up getting that thank you from LaVar Ball.
“Who? What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” Ball said, according to ESPN.
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. 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,’” Ball added, downplaying his son’s mistake. “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.”