CNN interview with LaVar Ball goes off the rails as he tries to explain why he dismissed Trump's help

  • LaVar Ball was a guest on CNN to discuss his feud with President Donald Trump.
  • Ball dismissed Trump's assistance, suggesting that the president didn't actually do anything to help the situation.
  • Ball said he would have thanked the president if the UCLA players actually came home on Air Force One.


LaVar Ball, who is famous for being the father of some good basketball players and talking boisterously about it, sat down with CNN on Monday night to discuss his war of words with President Donald Trump. The interview quickly went off the rails as Ball created more confusion than actual answers.

In an interview that lasted more than 20 minutes, Ball spent the majority of time sparring with CNN host Chris Cuomo. Ball refused to thank Trump for his assistance in freeing his son, LiAngelo Ball, and two other UCLA basketball players after they were arrested and charged with shoplifting during a recent team trip to China.

Ball started the interview by questioning why Trump was in China in the first place, insinuating that it was just a coincidence that Trump happened to be in China at the time the players were arrested.

RELATED: UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting in China

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UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting in China
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UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting in China
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 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 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 Cody Riley speaks at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where he was detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball listens at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where he was 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
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Jalen Hill of the UCLA Men's Baskeball speaks to the media during a press conference at Pauley Pavilion on November 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Hill and two teammates have been suspended from the team after allegedly shoplifting while on a school trip to China. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Cody Riley of the UCLA Men's Baskeball team speaks to the media during a press conference at Pauley Pavilion on November 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Riley and two teammates have been suspended from the team after allegedly shoplifting while on a school trip to China. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
LaVar Ball (L), father of basketball player LiAngelo Ball and the owner of the Big Baller brand, sits with his other son LaMelo Ball during 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)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley (L) of the UCLA Men's Baskeball team speak to the media during a press conference at Pauley Pavilion on November 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Ball, Riley and Jalen Hill have been suspended from the team after allegedly shoplifting while on a school trip to China. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 22: LaMelo Ball and LiAngelo Ball pose for a portrait with Lonzo Ball after being drafted number two overall to the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
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"He didn't even know they were over there," Ball said. "What was he even over there for in the first place? ... What I'm trying to say is, it's not like he was in the US and said, 'there's three kids in China, I need to go over there and get 'em.' That wasn't the thought process."

Ball then tried to explain why he wouldn't thank the president.

"I don't have to go around saying 'thank you' to everybody," Ball said. "He didn't call me. I didn't shake his hand. He didn't have to say nothin', but I'm just sayin'. I have to know what somebody is doing before I say 'thank you.' I'm not just going to go around saying thank you."

Ball then suggested that they were already working behind the scenes to secure the players' release before Trump got involved.

"Maybe we were doing some talking with some other people before he even got there," Ball said, before adding that the president should deal with political matters, "there is a lot of other matters going around for the president to deal with that's political. As far as me, let me deal with my son."

Things only deteriorated from there between Cuomo and Ball as Ball, on multiple occasions, suggested Trump did not help the UCLA players because he did not bring them home on Air Force One.

"I'll tell you this. If I'm coming to get you, let's say I'm coming to get you out of trouble," Ball said. "You best believe I am going to take you with me."

See if you can follow the logic here in which various versions of the word "confusion" are muttered numerous times and ends with Ball saying if anybody needs to be thanked it is Chinese president Xi Jinping:

Ball did say "that was nice," when told Trump talked to Xi about his son's situation, but again asked, "what did he do for my son?" But Ball reiterated, "I'm not just saying thank you to anybody for nothing," and noted that he "had some things done" and that he spoke with other people who "did some other things too."

Ball also explained why thought it "wasn't a big deal," saying he has seen friends go to prison for worse crimes and his son "wasn't physical, he returned it, he fessed up to it ... nobody got hurt."

He then dismissed again Trump's influence on the release, noting that the president said he should have left them in jail.

"First of all, they weren't in jail, they was in a hotel," Ball said. "Now, how did they get to the hotel on bail? Somebody had to do something ... If he helped, I'd say 'thank you.'"

At that point, Ball and Cuomo got into a bizarre argument over who was actually there.

RELATED: The Ball family

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The Ball family -- LaVar, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo
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The Ball family -- LaVar, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo
CHINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: (L-R) Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, LiAngelo Ball and LaVar Ball attend Melo Ball's 16th Birthday on September 2, 2017 in Chino, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Crosswalk Productions )
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 23: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to the media during a press conference at their training faculity in June 23, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: LaVar Ball holds courd during The Los Angeles Lakers game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: UCLA guard LiAngelo Ball (15) looks on during an college exhibition basketball game between the Cal State Los Angeles and the UCLA Bruins on November 1, 2017, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07: LaMelo Ball, brother of Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers, walks off the court after shooting baskets as part of a promotion during a timeout of a 2017 Summer League game between the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 7, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Clippers won 96-93 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the first half of a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: (L-R) Ice Cube and Lavar Ball compete in the Four Point Challenge during week eight of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 01: (L-R) LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball attend the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Washington Huskies at Pauley Pavilion on March 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: LaVar Ball sits with his son LaMelo as they watch games during week eight of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/BIG3/Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. EST and features a diverse lineup of guests that includes celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human-interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Monday, June 12 included Diane Keaton ('AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Diane Keaton'), Lonzo and LaVar Ball and musical guest Phoenix. (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) LAVAR BALL, LONZO BALL, JIMMY KIMMEL
BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 22: Lonzo Ball the number two pick selected by the Los Angeles Lakers talks to the media at the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Lonzo Ball walks on stage with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers during the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: LaVar Ball, father of second overall pick Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks to media during the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
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Ball then reiterated that he he "don't know" if the president actually helped in the release of the players, dropping one of his favorite lines, saying "let's just stay in our lane," in reference to the president sticking to politics and LaVar Ball dealing with his son.

This led to an argument over whether or not Ball "took a shot" at the president.

But if things seemed like they were already off the rails, the interview really went haywire when the pair sparred over thank yous, whether Cuomo would thank Ball for his appearance, and going full circle to Ball saying he would have thanked the president if "he would have put him on his plane and took them home."

A retort from Trump at this point feels inevitable.

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