LaVar Ball, father of LiAngelo Ball, a UCLA basketball player recently released by the Chinese after being detained on shoplifting charges, has taken issue with President Trump’s role in his son’s release.
Now, President Trump has taken issue with LaVar Ball.
On Saturday, LaVar Ball scoffed at the notion that President Trump’s meeting with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping had played any role in his son’s release. Ball went on to say that shoplifting is no big deal, and that his son would have been released anyway.
On Sunday, President Trump took to Twitter to criticize the elder Ball:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Ball spoke with ESPN about Trump’s involvement in his son’s release, and was critical of the notion that the Chinese released his son due to Trump’s intervention:
“Who?” Ball said when Markazi raised the topic. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” he added.
Ball also insisted that the crime his son was accused of was no big deal.
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” Ball said, continuing:
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.” 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. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.
“Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things, and they get stuck on them too long,” he concluded. “That’s not me. I handle what’s going on, and then we go from there.”