LaVar Ball Says Donald Trump Didn't Help Get LiAngelo Released from Shoplifting

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2017

LaVar Ball (L), father of basketball player LiAngelo Ball and the owner of the Big Baller brand, attends a promotional event in Hong Kong on November 14, 2017.
UCLA players LiAngelo Ball -- the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie star Lonzo Ball -- and teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on November 7 in Hangzhou ahead of their regular-season-opening game against Georgia Tech in nearby Shanghai this past weekend. ESPN reported that they were nabbed on suspicion of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store and later freed on bail but ordered to remain in Hangzhou.  / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE        (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTHONY WALLACE/Getty Images

LaVar Ball said Friday that President Donald Trump didn't play a substantial role in getting three UCLA basketball players, including his son, LiAngelo Ball, back to the United States following a shoplifting incident in China.

"Who?" Ball asked ESPN.com's Arash Markazi. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

Trump previously told reporters he had discussed the players' release with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

"I had a great conversation with President Xi," Trump said aboard Air Force One. "What they did was unfortunate. You know, you're talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games.  

"He was terrific, and they're working on it right now. And hopefully everything is going to work out. And I know they're very grateful because they were told exactly what happened."

Once LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill returned to the United States, Trump tweeted the following: "Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!"

At a press conference Wednesday, LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill thanked the president for assisting in their release.

A day later, Trump added: "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!"

Ball, Riley and Hill have all been suspended indefinitely, and head coach Steve Alford said they will "have to earn their way back" after stealing from several stores near their hotel in Hangzhou, according to the Los Angeles Daily NewsThuc Nhi Nguyen.

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