NCAA Basketball

Trump calls LaVar Ball an 'ungrateful fool'

(Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- President Donald Trump criticized LaVar Ball again for downplaying his role in bringing home three UCLA basketball players, including Ball's son, after a recent shoplifting incident in China during a team trip.

Earlier this week in his ongoing dispute with Ball, Trump said of the freshmen players: "I should have left them in jail."

On Wednesday morning, two days after Ball appeared on CNN, Trump called him as an "ungrateful fool" and "just a poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair" in a series of tweets.

Trump took full credit in the latest tweet for intervening on behalf of Ball's son, LiAngelo, and UCLA teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who were arrested on Nov. 7 for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins had been staying before leaving for Shanghai to face Georgia Tech.

"It wasn't the White House, it wasn't the State Department, it wasn't father LaVar's so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME," Trump wrote in a two-part tweet early Wednesday morning. "Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair.

"Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It's a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!"

LaVar Ball, also the father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, appeared on CNN on Monday night and refused to thank Trump for his involvement in helping to ensure the release of the three UCLA players so they could to return home safely.

Trump, while visiting Beijing last week as part of a five-nation Asia tour, personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of the trio.

Days after Trump discussed his involvement last week, LaVar Ball suggested the president had little to do with the matter.

"Who?" LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday when asked about Trump's involvement in getting the players released from China and back to the United States. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

During Monday night's CNN appearance, the outspoken Ball doubled down about the president.

"Did he help the boys get out?" Ball told CNN host Chris Cuomo. "I don't know. If I was going to thank someone, I would probably thank President Xi.

"I would have said 'thank you' if he put him on his plane and took him home. Then I would have 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 have said, thank you kindly for that."

LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill landed in Los Angeles on Nov. 14 and addressed the media the next day before being indefinitely suspended by the team. The three UCLA players individually thanked Trump for his help in their release.

Updated November 22, 2017

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