LaVar Ball has re-sparked his feud with President Donald Trump that started back in November. Ball took to Twitter Saturday to gloat after an ESPN report revealed that Trump likely overstated his involvement in securing the release of LiAngelo Ball and two other members of UCLA’s basketball team—Cody Riley and Jalen Hill—after a shoplifting incident in China.
“Thank you for what again @realDonaldTrump? #knowyourfacts #stayinyolane,” Ball tweeted, after the ESPN report went live Saturday.
In November, Trump tweeted that the UCLA players should’ve thanked him for his help in preventing them from serving a 10-year jail sentence for shoplifting in China.
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
Per ESPN’s report, the charges had been dropped, and LiAngelo Ball, Hill, and Riley were already scheduled to return to America two days before Trump got involved.
Things got increasingly tense between Trump and LaVar when he initially downplayed Trump’s involvement.
“What was he over there for?” Ball replied to ESPN when asked about Trump’s potential involvement. “Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
It’s unclear if Trump knew the matter had pretty much been resolved before he reached out to Chinese President Xi Jinping, but he still had those petty tweets ready.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Months later, UCLA officials confirmed to ESPN that Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly got involved late in the process. The players involved gave Trump the thanks he demanded during a press conference, but LaVar was correct in implying that Trump had very little to do with settling the incident. Given both Trump and Ball’s affinity for getting the last word, it remains to be seen if one of the stranger sports feuds in recent years is finally over.