President Donald Trump is at war with LaVar Ball. The two men have taken to social media and cable news to discuss the president's role in helping three UCLA basketball players get released from a shoplifting charge in China.
Here is how we got to Trump vs. Ball:
- Trump is elected as the 45th President of the United States of America.
- LaVar Ball starts his to prominence as the outspoken father of former UCLA basketball player and top NBA draft prospect Lonzo Ball. Ball makes bombastic claims like proclaiming himself and his sons as better players than many NBA greats. Lonzo Ball is drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in June 2017.
Monday, Nov. 6
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested after stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the UCLA team hotel in Hangzhou, China. The UCLA Bruins were getting ready to play Georgia Tech in their season opener.
It is later revealed that the three players stole from three stores.
Wednesday, Nov. 8
After being arrested, the three players surrendered their passports. The three players were released on $2,200 bail but had to stay in their hotel. The decision to remain in the lakeside hotel was made by UCLA and not the Chinese authorities. (The bail money was later refunded when the charges were withdrawn.)
Friday, Nov. 10
UCLA defeats Georgia Tech 63–60 in Shanghai. The three players did not play in the game.
Saturday, Nov. 11
UCLA's men's basketball team heads back to the United States. Ball, Riley and Hill remain in their hotel with director of basketball administration Doug Erickson.
Sunday, Nov. 12
President Donald Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping. At some point during his 12-day trip to Asia, Trump says that he discussed the arrest of the three players.
Tuesday, Nov. 14
The three players were informed that they could leave China as the charges against them were withdrawn. The three players board a flight back to Los Angeles.
Wednesday, Nov. 15
Trump tweets wondering whether the three players will thank him for his assistance in releasing them from their detention in China.
"Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?" he tweeted. "They were headed for 10 years in jail!"
Ball, Riley and Hill meet with the media at a news conference back on UCLA's campus. The three players accept responsibility for their actions and apologize. They all thanked Trump in their remarks.
Head coach Steve Alford also thanked Trump for his assistance and announced that the three players were suspended from the team indefinitely. The players are not allowed to suit up, practice or travel with the team.
Thursday, Nov. 16
Trump tweets about the three players and nearly ends any future discussion of the matter with "HAVE A GREAT LIFE!"
Sunday, Nov. 19
LaVar Ball is asked by ESPN about Trump's role in helping assist his son's release from China. Ball responds by saying, "Who?What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."
"As long as my boy's back here, I'm fine," LaVar Ball added. "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. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that's a different thing."
Trump took to Twitter to issue his response.
"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!"
Monday, Nov. 20
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump's tweet was a rhetorical response to LaVar Ball's criticism.
"It was a rhetorical response to the criticism by the father," Sander said. "I think the President was happy to see the release of these individuals and have them back in the United States.”
LaVar Ball goes on CNN to discuss Trump's most recent comments. The interview with Chris Cuomo resulted in hilarity that was received with jokes on social media. Ball continues to downplay Trump's role in the process.
“I would've said 'Thank you' if he would've put him on his plane and took him home,” Ball said. "Then I would've said, ‘Thank you Mr. Trump for taking my boys out of China and taking them back to the U.S.’ There's a lot of room on that plane. I would have said thank you kindly to that."
After about 20 minutes of being interviewed, Ball refused to thank Trump. Instead, Hhe ended the interview by saying, "Tell Donald Trump to have a great Thanksgiving because Big Baller is."
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Trump targeted LaVar Ball on Twitter again.
"It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME," Trump tweeted. "Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think...LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!"
This post will be updated as the saga continues.