The ever boisterous LaVar Ball was given a political platform on Monday night as he appeared on CNN to discuss a growing feud with United States President Donald Trump, which stems from Ball’s son, LiAngelo, and his two UCLA teammates getting arrested while in China for shoplifting.
The trio was detained in the luxurious team hotel for nearly two weeks before returning to the United States. That came on the heels of President Trump’s trip through Asia, during which time he spoke with President Xi Jinping of China about the arrested players.
Trump, as he’s known to do, took to Twitter and wondered if the UCLA teammates would offer their gratitude for the role he played in their release. Each of the players thanked Trump in their statements at last week’s news conference.
Ball wasn’t quite as complimentary, as he questioned the validity and impact of the President’s involvement. That naturally drew a reaction from Trump, who accused Ball of being ungrateful and said he should’ve waited until a next visit to China to lend a hand.
During his appearance on CNN, Ball further explained his stance on not feeling obligated to thank President Trump:
“He didn’t even know they were over there. What was his reason for going over in the first place? What I’m trying to say is, it wasn’t like he was in the U.S. and said, ‘There’s three kids in China and I need to go over there and get them.'”
“When somebody asks me a question, that’s not disrespectful if I don’t feel anybody did anything. I don’t have to go around saying thank you to everybody. I have to know what somebody is doing before I say thank you. I’m not just going to go around saying thank you. If you come and shake my hand, meet me or meet my son, or anybody, then say, ‘Maybe I can help you out.’ Let’s do it that way. I don’t have doubts about what [President Trump] did. I have doubts about what he didn’t do. If I was going to thank somebody, I’d probably thank President Xi.
“I would’ve said, ‘Thank you, Mr. Trump, for taking my boys out of China and bringing them back to the U.S.’ There’s a lot of room on that plane. I would’ve said, ‘Thank you, kindly,’
Throughout the duration of the interview, Ball continued to maintain he was unaware of any involvement or influence President Trump. He also wondered why the matter was one that required the President’s involvement.
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