At some point, you just knew that Donald Trump and LaVar Ball were going to cross paths in 2017. After all of the completely off-the-wall shit that has taken place this year, it wouldn’t be right if we went into 2018 without their names being linked for one reason or another. But we really have to give it up to them: In our wildest dreams, we couldn’t imagine them being connected as a result of a story involving Louis Vuitton sunglasses, shoplifting, and international politics.
And yet, here we are! With still about a month to go in 2017, the inevitable Donald Trump vs. LaVar Ball feud that we all knew was going to happen has happened. The two engaged in a war of words over the weekend, and thanks to their beef, LaVar made an appearance on CNN on Monday night that will more than likely receive a response from Trump.
Let’s take a look at how we got here. Here’s a timeline of Donald Trump’s beef with the head of the Ball family.
Nov. 7, 2017: LiAngelo Ball and two UCLA teammates are arrested in China for shoplifting
During a trip to China to take part in a game against Georgia Tech, LiAngelo and his two teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, were arrested after they were caught stealing from a Louis Vuitton store near their team hotel. They were released from police custody but were ordered to give up their passports and stay at the hotel until an investigation into the shoplifting allegations took place. Initial reports indicated they could face 3 to 10 years in prison.
Nov. 8, 2017: LaVar Ball says LiAngelo’s arrest "ain’t a big deal"
Despite the possibility of the serious prison sentence that was first reported, LiAngelo’s dad LaVar downplayed the situation. "He’ll be fine," LaVar told ESPN’s Arash Markazi. "Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal."
Nov. 9, 2017: LaVar is told not to comment on LiAngelo’s arrest again
Just one day after LaVar said LiAngelo’s shoplifting arrest wasn’t "that big a deal," LaVar refused to comment further on the situation. ESPN’s Arash Markazi reported that someone had told LaVar not to speak about LiAngelo any further until he was allowed to return to the U.S.
Nov. 13, 2017: Trump asks China’s President Xi Jinping to help settle LiAngelo’s case
Several days after LiAngelo was arrested, The Washington Post reported that Trump reached out to President Xi Jinping of China to try and resolve the case. When asked about it, Trump said that President Xi had been "terrific" with regards to his request. But he said that the shoplifting case was "not something that should have happened" in the first place. He also reportedly referred to LiAngelo and his teammates as "knuckleheads" while speaking with President Xi.
Nov. 14, 2017: LiAngelo and his teammates are allowed to leave China
One week after being arrested, LiAngelo and his teammates were finally allowed to leave their hotel and board a flight for Los Angeles. The shoplifting charges that were originally filed against them were reportedly dropped, clearing the way for them to make their way home.
Nov. 15, 2017: Trump calls for LiAngelo and his teammates to thank him for his help
Almost as soon as LiAngelo and his teammates arrived back in the U.S., Trump sent out a tweet that seemed to suggest he was expecting them to say thank you to him at some point. "Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?" he wrote. "They were headed for 10 years in jail!"
Nov. 15, 2017: LiAngelo and his teammates thank Trump
During a press conference in which all three UCLA players apologized for their actions in China, they also offered up their thanks to Trump.
Nov. 18, 2017: LaVar says he doesn’t think Trump helped LiAngelo and his teammates
While speaking with ESPN a few days after LiAngelo’s safe arrival back in the U.S., LaVar said he didn’t believe Trump played a big part in bringing the UCLA players home. "Who?" LaVar said. "What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."
LaVar continued: "As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. 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."
Nov. 19, 2017: Trump says he should have left LiAngelo and his teammates in jail
In response to LaVar’s "Who?" comment, Trump responded by saying that he should have left LiAngelo and his teammates in jail in China. "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," he wrote. "I should have left them in jail!"
Trump added: "Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!"
Nov. 20, 2017: LaVar refuses to thank Trump during CNN appearance
During one of LaVar’s most memorable media appearances yet, he refused to thank Trump for whatever role he played in bringing LiAngelo back to the U.S. "Did he help the boys get out?" he asked. "I don’t know. If I was going to thank someone, I would probably thank President Xi."
Towards the end of the interview, LaVar also said the only way he would have thanked Trump is if he would have personally put LiAngelo on Air Force One to bring him home. "I would have said, 'Thank you,' if he put him on his plane and took him home," he said. "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.'"
And at one point, LaVar also made a Trump-esque statement by saying that he played a bigger part in freeing LiAngelo than Trump did. "I had some people that had boots on the ground that knew the situation when we first jumped on there," he said. "I keep those people in mind."
Trump and Ball both seem like the kind of guys who want to have the last word. So we wouldn’t expect this to end anytime soon.