Shoplifter LiAngelo Ball fuels his family’s feud with President Trump by revealing why he thanked him

Former UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball says the university forced him to thank President Trump for helping secure his release from China after he was caught shoplifting with teammates.

“My school wanted to hear it,” he said in an interview with The Breakfast Club on Wednesday. “Before I went up there, it was like, ‘You’ve got to thank him.’ I just threw him in there real quick right before I gave my speech. If they didn’t tell me to do it, it wouldn’t have been in there, to be honest.”

Ball and two other players held a press conference last month following their release. While addressing their shoplifting incident, Ball said, “I would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided as well.” His acknowledgement of the president’s assistance in saving him from up to ten years in a Chinese prison came after Trump tweeted, “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?”

RELATED: The Ball family -- LaVar, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo

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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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The basketball player’s controversial father then stirred up a feud with President Trump with his response to the incident: “Who? What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.” The comments elicited a two-part tweet from the president, in which he called LaVar Ball “ungrateful” and “unaccepting.”

The pair have been engaging in an online spat ever since, with the basketball father literally slamming the president in an animated tweet as the latest development. On Tuesday, Ball pulled LiAngelo, 19, out of UCLA and announced that he and his youngest son LaMelo, 16, will be playing professional basketball overseas in Lithuania.

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