President of the United States Donald Trump basically wanted a purple heart for intervening with the arrests of UCLA players LiAngelo Ball, brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley during a recent team trip to China. The trio was detained for shoplifting but eventually released and the charges dropped after all three admitted guilt.
Although LiAngelo went on to thank Trump at a later press conference, his father, the very outspoken LaVar Ball, hasn’t praised POTUS for his involvement in the process—which, again, the Oompa Loompa-kissed, tumbleweed-haired “leader” of the “free” world was quick to point out:
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
LaVar went on CNN to address this situation in greater detail on Monday, because this is 2017, and this is what the Trump era has reduced us to. He made it clear he has no plans to thank POTUS—nor does he think he should have to, as relayed by ESPN.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
LaVar Ball reiterated there’s no reason for him to thank President Trump in the case of his son, LiAngelo, and two other UCLA freshmen returning to the U.S. after being held in China for shoplifting. “You heard what he tweeted,” Ball said of Trump during an interview on CNN. “He tweeted because he is mad at me [that] I should have left their asses in jail. First of all, they weren’t in jail, they were in a hotel. How did they get into a hotel? Somebody had to do something. Did he do it? If he paid for the money to put up whatever we needed to do then I would say thank you. Did he do that?… He said he helped. How did he help? If he helped, I would say thank you… Do I think the president helped? I don’t know. I don’t care and I don’t know.” Ball did thank Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Anyone who’s read the space in the past knows yours truly isn’t the biggest fan of LaVar. Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks changed my perception a tad with his own thoughtful comments, but I still grapple with my feelings about LaVar.
All that being said, I side with him here. If Trump did indeed help, he shouldn’t be calling for a thank you. And he most definitely should be too busy to tweet about the absence of a thank you. The entire situation is a cluster-you-know-what, and we shouldn’t immediately be pulled to support LaVar, but the narcissistic Trump has a way of making things easy for us. His behavior in this situation is far more embarrassing than the actions of the UCLA players or, frankly, almost anything LaVar has said or done to date.