It’s already been an extremely busy week for LaVar Ball and his family, and we’re still only a couple days into it.
On Monday, LaVar announced he was pulling his son LiAngelo out of UCLA, just weeks after LiAngelo and two of his teammates were arrested in China for shoplifting and subsequently suspended by the Bruins upon their arrival back in the U.S. LaVar also announced that because LiAngelo is no longer bound by NCAA rules, the middle Ball son will be getting his own signature Big Baller Brand sneaker at some point in the very near future. Additionally, LaVar revealed he plans on training LiAngelo so he can enter the NBA Draft next June, even though it seems like LiAngelo has little to no chance of actually being drafted.
On Tuesday, LaVar kept things going by making an appearance on the Today show with LiAngelo to talk about everything from the decision to pull LiAngelo out of UCLA to the shoplifting charge that landed LiAngelo in trouble in the first place. During the interview, LiAngelo spoke for the first time about what led to him and his teammates to face shoplifting charges in China. He chalked it up to the players making a bad decision and not thinking about the consequences of stealing.
"We all went out one night, went through the mall, went to the Louis Vuitton store, and people started taking stuff and me just not thinking and being with them, I took something, too," he said. "We left thinking we’d just get away. You know how kids think. I didn’t realize until I got back to my hotel, I’m like, 'That was stupid.' But by then, it was too late, and then sure enough, the next morning, the police came and got us."
LiAngelo also spoke about the conditions of the Chinese jail he was held in before he was released and allowed to stay at the hotel the players had used prior to their arrest. He said he and his teammates had their clothes and shoelaces confiscated and that they were unable to communicate with any of the guards.
While LaVar allowed LiAngelo to talk plenty during the interview so that he could tell his side of the story, he also jumped in at one point to talk about the arrest and, more specifically, UCLA’s reaction to it. He said part of the reason he decided to pull LiAngelo out of school was because UCLA wasn’t going to allow LiAngelo to play much this season due to his suspension, even though he had been cleared of any wrongdoing in China.
"China already said, 'OK, he made a mistake, we’re gonna drop the charges.' That’s the punishment they gave him. Now we over here, and we gotta serve some more punishment?" LaVar said. "He already fessed up for what he did. He apologized. What is the long process for? We only went to UCLA—one and done—to play basketball."
Elsewhere in the interview, LaVar also spoke about his beef with Donald Trump and said he sent the President three pairs of Big Baller Brand sneakers. But he continued to argue against the idea of Trump playing a big role in his son’s release from China.
LaVar made his return to CNN on Tuesday morning as well and spoke about Trump there, too. You can watch that interview below.
The Lakers might be making a push to try and keep LaVar quieter than he’s been in recent months, but it doesn’t look like he's going anywhere soon. He’s already made more noise in the past few days than he has over the last few weeks—and it’s only Tuesday! Stay tuned to see where he pops up next.