- Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty
- President Donald Trump mocked NBA personality LaVar Ball after Ball refused to thank Trump for his role in having his son LiAngelo and two other UCLA basketball players released from China after being charged with shoplifting.
- Trump called him an “ungrateful fool” and compared him to Don King without the hair.
- Trump has been criticized in the past for finding athletes ungrateful, and after the UCLA players did thank Trump, Trump asked them to thank Chinese President Xi Jinping too.
President Donald Trump blasted NBA personality LaVar Ball on Wednesday with tweets calling an “ungrateful fool” and saying his son LiAngelo would have been in jail in China without his help.
The outburst followed a bizarre CNN interview in which Ball refused to thank Trump for his help.
On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted “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.”
He went on to say, ” LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair” and that LaVar “could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China.”
Though LiAngelo and the other UCLA freshman basketball players detained for shoplifting in China did thank Trump for his help, Ball disputed that Trump purposefully tried to free the students during 12-day trip to Asia.
He also criticized the president for not bringing them back on Air Force One.
The freshman admitted to stealing from stores in China that reportedly included a Louis Vuitton outlet. In China, people convicted of shoplifting face up to 10 years in prison.
“LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China” tweeted Trump, who also called Ball a “poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair” in reference to the scandal-ridden boxing promoter who is known to promote fights with sensational claims and an iconic hairdo.
King, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 1967, stumped for Trump during the campaign, and the two have referred to each other as friends in the past.
Trump has been criticized for finding athletes ungrateful in the past, as he routinely attacks NFL players for sitting during the national anthem.
After the UCLA players thanked Trump for his help, Trump went a step further and asked the players to also thank Chinese President Xi Jinping.