LaVar Ball went on "The Today Show" to discuss China shoplifting incident and decision to remove son from UCLA.

By Scooby Axson
December 05, 2017

Former UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball said that being locked up in a Chinese jail was "horrible" and that he is fine with the decision to leave school to pursue his professional basketball dreams.

Ball and his outspoken father, LaVar, appeared on The Today Show Tuesday morning to discuss various topics.

Ball, and fellow players Cody Riley and Jalen Hill admitted trying to steal from three different stores at a mall across from a hotel in Hangzhou, China while the team was in the country to play Georgia Tech last month.

"We all went out one night, went through the malls, went to the Louis Vuitton store, and people started taking stuff and me just not thinking and being with them, I took something, too," LiAngelo Ball said.

"We left thinking we'd just get away. You know how kids think," he added. "I didn't realize til I got back to my hotel, I'm like, 'That was stupid.' But by the end, it was too late. Sure enough, the next morning, the police came and got us."

Ball said he spent "a day and a half or something like that" in jail.

"You just sit in a cement cell for however long," he said. "It's just you and all the officers, and they don't speak English."

Upon returning to the United States, the players thanked President Trump for his help, but LaVar Ball refused to acknowledge that Trump assisted in the players' release.

Trump then said he should have left the players in jail and called LaVar "an ungrateful fool."

LaVar Ball explained his reasons for pulling his son out of school just months after enrolling.

"China already said, 'OK, you made a bad mistake. We're going to drop the charges.' That's the punishment they gave them," LaVar Ball said. "But that's the punishment they gave. Now we're over here. We've got to serve some more punishment. We apologized. But it's a long process for him. He only went to UCLA one-and-done to play basketball."

LaVar Ball reiterated his plan to have all three of his sons play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I ain't got no fallback plan. Because if I got a fallback plan, that means I'm going 80 percent this way and 20 percent to my fallback," he said. "I'm 100 in. So I never get stopped."

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