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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.
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Sunday / December 17.
  • LaVar Ball continues to refuse to thank Donald Trump after release of UCLA players from China

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    During a long and rambling interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday night, LaVar Ball continued to refuse to thank President Donald Trump for helping in the release of his son and two other players arrested Nov. 8 for shoplifting in China.

    The elder Ball said he only would have thanked Trump if he flew the three UCLA players — LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley — home with him on Air Force One following Trump’s recent visit to China.

    “I would have said thank you if he would have put [LiAngelo] on his plane and taken him home,” Ball said. “…There’s a lot of room on that plane.”

    Instead, after Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the players eventually flew home last Friday and apologized during a press conference at UCLA. They remain suspended indefinitely.

    Trump on Sunday called Ball “very ungrateful” for refusing to thank him and said he “should have left them in jail.”

    Cuomo gave Ball numerous chances to thank Trump, but he simply wouldn’t do it.

    “If I help somebody, I don’t walk around saying, ‘You know, I helped you now,'” he said.

    “If I was going to thank somebody I would probably thank President Xi,” he added. “He’s the President in China.”

    Ball also reiterated that it wasn’t that big of a deal that his son was arrested for shoplifting, even though he could have spent 5-10 years in Chinese prison as a result. He called it a “victimless” crime.

    “It was an impulse thing, a bad decision at a bad time,” he said.

    Ball signed off by saying, “Tell Donald Trump To have a great Thanksgiving because Big Baller is.”

    Photo: TMZ

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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.