ESPN did their own investigation on the three UCLA players who were arrested for shoplifting in China at the beginning of the college basketball season. As you know LaVar Ball’s son LiAngelo was one of the players who were caught stealing.
What you don’t know, but LaVar did, is that President Trump might have exaggerated his role in securing the release of the players from custody. It turns out the charges were dropped and the players were given their passports back two days before Trump got involved.
While the story made for bold headlines, the details of what transpired in China largely remained under wraps until now. Over the past three months, ESPN conducted a series of interviews with multiple sources who were on the ground in China to recreate a moment-by-moment depiction of the events.
Among the new details that have emerged: what the players stole from the other two stores besides the sunglasses from Louis Vuitton; that the players were required to leave the police station multiple times to return the items they stole to all three stores; that one player hid a pair of stolen sunglasses in UCLA head coach Steve Alford’s hotel room; how UCLA and Pac-12 officials bailed the players out of jail without committing an NCAA violation; how charges were dropped, the bail refunded and the players’ passports returned two days before White House chief of staff John Kelly called the players to inform them that President Donald Trump was working on their release; how UCLA appeased Chinese authorities by keeping the players in China for 72 hours after the rest of the team had returned to Los Angeles; and why school officials thought it wise to thank Trump and Kelly while still unsure of the impact of their efforts.
Following the report LaVar sent out a tweet asking him what he needed to thank him for again and dropping a “stay in your lane” on him.
A parent of a basketball player calling out a President. What a time to be alive.