LiAngelo Ball, UCLA Players Released, Fly Home from China

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

LiAngelo Ball (third from left)
LiAngelo Ball (third from left)Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who were arrested in China on charges of shoplifting, have been allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott released a statement Tuesday, confirming the players are on a flight back to Los Angeles, via Tyson Alger of The Oregonian:

ABC News passed along footage of the players arriving stateside: 

Mark Dreyer of ChinaSportsInsider.com reported that all charges were dropped against the trio and that they were not officially deported from the country.

James T. Areddy of the Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the players' exit from China. President Donald Trump had said he was working with Chinese president Xi Jinping on having the players returned to the United States.

Trump discussed the matter with Xi during his two-day trip to Beijing, which came as part of a 12-day tour of Asia. A U.S. official told David Nakamura and Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post that Xi promised the players would be treated "fairly and expeditiously."

Ball, Riley and Hill are accused of attempting to steal sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near their team hotel in Hangzhou. UCLA was in China for an exhibition matchup against Georgia Tech. The players were held in the hotel and not allowed to travel back to the United States with the team.

"I'm going to wait until I get more intel on what's going on," LaVar Ball said following his son's arrest, per Arash Markazi of ESPN.com. "He'll be fine. Everyone's making it a big deal. It ain't that big a deal."

LiAngelo Ball is the brother of former UCLA point guard and current Los Angeles Laker Lonzo Ball. Lonzo told reporters LaVar called him and asked him to not worry too much about the situation.

"My dad did call me but didn't leave me much information," Lonzo Ball said. "He just said, 'Be ready to play. We are handling it out here,' so that's a good sign."

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