LaVar Ball acknowledged the president’s help for getting his son out of China during his appearance on CNN Monday night – the president of the Big Baller Brand, that is.
“I helped my son get out of China,” Ball said. “[President Donald Trump] said he helped. How did he help? If he helped, I would say ‘thank you.’”
Ball refused to thank Trump and continued to downplay his role in bringing his son, LiAngelo, and two other members from the UCLA basketball team back from China amid allegations of shoplifting, a penalty that could carry jail time of multiple years.
"I don't know. If I was going to thank anybody, I would probably thank [Chinese] president Xi [Jinping], Ball said."
Ball added that Trump should be concerned with bigger issues and that if he deserved a thank you, the outspoken Ball would not hesitate.
“If [Trump] paid for the money to put up or whatever we needed to do, then I would say thank you. Did he do that? Because I don’t know if he did.”
The outspoken Ball agreed to an appearance on CNN following a series of tweets from Trump after Ball said ‘Who?’ when originally asked about Trump’s involvement in bringing his son home.
“He tweeted, because he’s mad at me, ‘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 to the hotel? On bail,” Ball said.
LiAngelo and his two teammates – Jalen Hill and Cody Riley – were held under house arrest in their hotel in Hangzhou, a city in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang.
The elder Ball acknowledged that his son shoplifted, but downplayed the severity of the incident, calling it a victimless crime.
Despite his war of words with President No. 45, Ball did extend an olive branch toward the end of the near 20-minute interview.
“Tell Donald Trump to have a great Thanksgiving. Because Big Baller is,” he said followed by a smile and a thumbs-up.