By Liam Day
On November 7th, three UCLA basketball players were arrested in China for shoplifting. One of these stars was once the face of Chino Hills basketball after his brother, Lonzo Ball, went on to be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. LiAngelo Ball and his teammates, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, walked into not one, but three different stores and stole multiple pairs of Louis Vuitton sunglasses. They were then arrested and rather than being held in a prison, they were confined to their hotel room while the incident was further investigated.
After being held in China for almost a week, President Donald Trump happened to be on a trip to China originally to discuss trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping. After their meeting, he was able to convince President Jinping to allow the young players to return to the US and he apologized for their unacceptable actions. They returned home on November 14th and were swarmed by reporters with questions.
The incident intensified when the father of the well-known Ball Brothers, Lavar Ball, refused to give thanks or any credit to President Trump in saying, “Don't come in one time and think you did something for my son, I don't have to go around saying thank you to everybody.” He was ridiculed by reporters simply because without the help of the President, the three athletes would likely be sitting in a Chinese jail right now. His words quickly found their way to President Trump's attention and he responded harshly by tweeting, “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”
President Trump gave his advice to the three boys by saying, “Go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!”
After the students came out to the public with long thoughtful apologies in saying that they “Apologize for the negative attention we have brought to our University and our Country.” Ball, Hill, and Riley were suspended from UCLA basketball indefinitely. They will have to earn their respect and trust back from the rest of UCLA and the country if they have hopes of playing again.