LiAngelo Ball and his UCLA teammates were swarmed by reporters upon their return to the United States from China.
UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were swarmed by reporters at Los Angeles International Airport as the trio returned to the U.S. from China, where they were arrested for shoplifting.
Dozens of reporters, many with cameras in the players' faces, shouted questions such as "did you guys disrespect UCLA?", "where are the sunglasses?" and "are you Donald Trump supporters?" The players did not respond to any questions and said nothing as they loaded onto a bus.
Ball, Hill and Riley were accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in China, where UCLA played its season-opener against Georgia Tech. The players did not play in the game and were reportedly facing a 20-day home arrest, but U.S. President Donald Trump intervened on the players behalf, which may have had a role in the earlier-than-expected return.
The players were released on bail Wednesday morning in Hangzhou, China, and reportedly did not accompany the team back to Los Angeles after UCLA's 63–60 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
"What they did was unfortunate. You know, you're talking about very long prison sentences," Trump said, according to CBS News. "They do not play games."
Trump said that Xi is helping out with the case and has been "terrific on that subject" and added that he hopes the players are able to return home soon.
"Hopefully everything is going to work out," Trump said. "It's a very rough situation."
U.S. diplomats have been in contact with the families of the players and have also spoken with UCLA head coach Steve Alford.