LaVar Ball downplays Trump's involvement in UCLA shoplifting case

  • LaVar Ball downplayed President Donald Trump's role in getting three UCLA basketball players home after they were arrested on charges of shoplifting in China.
  • Trump reportedly made a plea to President Xi Jinping to get the Chinese government involved in the case.
  • The players thanked Trump upon returning home.


LaVar Ball on Friday downplayed US President Donald Trump's role in helping three UCLA basketball players return home after being arrested on charges of shoplifting in China.

Trump, while on a trip to Asia, reportedly made a personal plea to President Xi Jinping for the Chinese government to get involved in the case, which included LaVar's son LiAngelo, Rich Hill, and Cody Riley.

LaVar, however, minimized Trump's role to ESPN's Arash Markazi.

"Who?" Ball said of Trump's involvement. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

When the players returned to the US, Trump wondered in a tweet if the players would thank him. After a press conference later on, the players did thank for Trump for his involvement.

RELATED: LiAngelo Ball, teammates return from China

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LiAngelo Ball, teammates return from China
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LiAngelo Ball, teammates return from China
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball (R) and Cody Riley arrive at LAX after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball arrives at LAX after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill arrive to speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China, where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Trump said in his tweet that the players were facing up to 10 years in jail. ESPN previously reported that people familiar with the case believed it would be settled in one to two weeks. The players were kept in the team's hotel during questioning from the police.

"As long as my boy's back here, I'm fine," Ball told ESPN. "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."

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