- Thomas Peter/Reuters
- LiAngelo Ball and two UCLA teammates are reportedly set to be released and sent home from China.
- The three players were arrested in China and charged with shoplifting.
- President Donald Trump spoke with President Xi Jinping of China about the case during his recent visit and asked for assistance.
Three UCLA basketball players, including LiAngelo Ball, the brother of NBA star Lonzo Ball, “are set to leave China” after being detained on shoplifting charges, according to reports Tuesday morning.
News of the players’ pending release comes two days after President Donald Trump made a personal plea to President Xi Jinping of China to assist in the case.
The three freshman players – Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill – were arrested last week during the Bruins’ trip to China to open the season against Georgia Tech. The players were charged with shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store. David Nakamura and Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post reported that the initial chargers were later reduced. However, the players were ordered to remain in their hotel until the case was resolved.
- LiAngelo Ball
The players were expected to remain in Hangzhou for “a week or two,” according to ESPN’s Arash Markazi. The rest of the team returned to the United States without the players.
Trump confirmed that he had spoken to Xi about the players, saying he was “terrific,” but also noting the seriousness of what the situation.
“I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One prior to the report that the players were being sent home. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games.”
Trump also said that what the players had done was “something that should not have happened.”
“President Xi has been terrific on that subject,” Trump said. “But that was not a good subject. That was not something that should have happened.”