LiAngelo Ball is no longer at UCLA. The middle Ball brother left the university on Monday at the behest of his father, LaVar, who cited the indefinite suspension handed to LiAngelo and the others that were arrested for shoplifting in China as the main reason for his withdrawal from the school.
After dominating the news cycle on Monday, the Balls weren’t done, as LaVar and LiAngelo appeared on The Today Show on Tuesday morning to discuss their situation. LaVar, naturally, discussed his ongoing feud with Donald Trump over whether he should thank the president for his assistance in getting LiAngelo and the other UCLA players out of China.
As for LiAngelo, he finally offered details into what went down in China and why he and the others shoplifted from the Louis Vuitton store in a Chinese mall, which led to the entire international incident. As Ball explained, he was just going along with what everyone else was doing and didn’t really think about it until he got back to his hotel room that night and thought about how it was probably a poor decision.
“We all went out one night, went through the mall,” LiAngelo said. “Went to the Louis Vuitton store. People started taking stuff, and me just not thinking and being with them, I took stuff too. We left thinking we’ll just get away, you know how kids think. I didn’t realize till I got back to my hotel, I’m like ‘that was stupid,’ but by then it was too late. And sure enough, the next morning the police came and got us.”
The “peer pressure” defense is certainly an interesting one to take here. Ball might be telling the truth and he was just going along with what everyone else is doing, but at 19 years old even if that’s not the best excuse (or one that’s going to endear him to too many). I’m sure after hearing this his ex-teammates aren’t too upset he’s no longer on the Bruins after essentially throwing them under the bus on national TV.
Ball also detailed what it was like in Chinese jail, which sounds like a night in jail pretty much anywhere.
“We were in jail for a day and a half,” LiAngelo said. “Oh, it was horrible. They take your clothes. You wear like whatever they have for you, a little jumpsuit or whatever. Take your shoestrings, and then you just sit in a cement cell for however long. It’s just you and the officer, and they don’t speak English.”
Now we know that going to jail for a night in China works about the same as going to jail for a night here in the U.S. An appearance on national morning television was a fitting end to the LaVar/LiAngelo/UCLA saga, and now NBA Draft prep, for which he has “no chance,” can begin in earnest.