Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Trump exhorts UCLA trio to thank Xi for release in China
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is exhorting three suspended UCLA basketball players to thank Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) for their freedom following a shoplifting incident while they were in China.
Trump had tweeted Wednesday: “Do you think the three UCLA basketball p layers will say thank you President Trump. They were headed for 10 years in jail.”
The trio apologized later Wednesday and publicly thanked Trump, who was in Asia last week, for his help. On Thursday morning, the president sent another tweet saying, “You’re welcome. go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible.”
In the same tweet, Trump said, “HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!”
Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the Bruins beat Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai. The rest of the UCLA team returned home Saturday.
Athletic director Dan Guerrero said the incident occurred when the team was given 90 minutes of free time on Nov. 6 in Hangzhou. He said the three visited several stores and took items from three stores.
Coach Steve Alford announced Wednesday the players were being suspended indefinitely and said they would have to earn their way back onto the team.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.