Ball questioned Trump’s role in the situation and declined to offer a thank you to the president, telling Cuomo he “[doesn’t] have to go around saying thank you to everybody,” per CNN:
Ball said a trip for LiAngelo on Air Force One would’ve changed his attitude toward Trump, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
Ball minimized the gravity of LiAngelo’s crime and called it a “bad decision at a bad time.” CNN shared his statements on Twitter:
The elder Ball also questioned why Trump has turned LiAngelo’s arrest into a bigger story than it already was.
“Let him do his political affairs,” Ball said, per USA Today‘s Dan Wolken. “Let me handle my son and let’s just stay in our lane.”
Ball’s youngest son, LaMelo, reacted to LaVar’s interview:
The originator of the Big Baller Brand entered the orbit of President Trump after Chinese authorities arrested LiAngelo and two other UCLA basketball players on Nov. 7.
While the rest of the team headed home following a Nov. 10 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the trio of Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill remained in China to resolve their legal issues. They subsequently returned to the United States on Nov. 14.
A day later, Trump tweeted about the process and that the three players were facing 10 years in a Chinese prison:
ESPN.com’s Arash Markazi reported Chinese authorities had planned to detain Ball, Riley and Hill for one to two weeks. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg elaborated on that part of the story:
Markazi also spoke to LaVar, who minimized Trump’s importance in getting LiAngelo home.
“Who?” LaVar said when asked about Trump. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
That prompted a response from the president Sunday:
Given Ball’s defiant comments toward Trump on Monday night, it would appear the war of words between him and the president is unlikely to quiet down.