President Trump accused the father of one of the basketball players accused of shoplifting in China an “ungrateful fool” in a tweet on Wednesday following days of back-and-forth criticism from both men.
“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. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think..,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
“…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. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!” the president added.
LaVar Ball is the father of University of California Los Angeles player LiAngelo Ball, one of the three players arrested in China this month for shoplifting. The crime usually carries three to 10 years in prison, but Mr. Trump said he spoke to China’s president, Xi Jinping, to release the players.
The president happened to be in Asia when the players were arrested and mentioned the situation during his meeting with China’s leader.
The senior Mr. Ball has been outspoken in his criticism of the president after Mr. Trump said the players should be grateful he intervened with China on their behalf.
Mr. Ball said Monday on CNN he wouldn’t thank the president for his help in the situation, but said he would’ve if Mr. Trump had personally flown his son home.
“I would have said thank you if he would have put [LiAngelo] on his plane and taken him home,” Mr. Ball said.
He also minimized the severity of his son’s crime, referring to the incident as a “impulse thing.”