President Trump took another swing or two at LaVar Ball on Twitter Wednesday, continuing a feud that has been going full steam since the president negotiated for the release of Ball’s son from Chinese imprisonment earlier in the month.
“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.”
Ball has raised the ire of President Trump by refusing to offer his thanks for getting his son out of Chinese custody. LiAngelo Ball, along with fellow UCLA basketball players Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, was arrested for shoplifting while in China to play a season opener in Shanghai. After being nabbed for trying to steal sunglasses, the three were thrown in the slammer and potentially faced extraordinarily serious prison time in the communist regime.
“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,” Trump wrote. “But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!”
Trump has been demanding some gratitude from the three players since securing their release, but his request for a word of thanks was rejected by Ball in the ensuing days. “Who?” Ball said on ESPN. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
This enraged Trump, who tweeted Sunday: “I should have left them in jail!”
In an interview with CNN the next night, Ball still adamantly refused to thank the president for his role in getting his son out of custody.
“You heard what he tweeted,” he said. “He tweeted that cause he’s mad at me, ‘I should have left their asses in jail.’ I don’t have to go around saying thank you to everybody.”
Neither of these men are really coming out looking terrific as a result of this feud, but it is remarkable that these players – and the senior Ball in particular – are so unwilling to show some simple gratitude to the president, just because it happens to be Donald Trump. There are some things for which you can set politics aside. Things like…he just saved your ass from sitting in a Chinese prison cell for the next year or two.