The story of UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley robbing three stores in China and getting locked up was rather bizarre. They were incarcerated and eventually released from custody after surrendering their passports. They faced up to three years in a Chinese prison. UCLA was planning on leaving them behind. Their escape from China was just as bizarre. President Trump personally lobbied China’s President Xi Jinping on behalf of the kids, the parents and UCLA. Now Trump is regretting that decision:
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
Who knew freeing a bunch of bratty kids for shoplifting rose to the level of national security?
Did Lavar Ball Bite The Hand That Fed Him?
LiAngelo’s father, Lavar Ball, downplayed Trump’s involvement in helping secure the release of the players. This is what he said to ESPN after the kids’ safe return home:
“Who?” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday, when asked about Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.
What would possess these kids, now known as “Chinese Three” to go on a robbing spree in another country … country where they were unaware of the laws and customs? Secondly, the Shock Exchange has not heard a peep from the kids’ parents chastising them for their behavior. LaVar Ball has spent more time downplaying Trump’s actions than criticizing his son for disrespecting himself and the family. Nonetheless, this brouhaha between Trump and Ball has been brewing for days.
Former ESPN commentator Britt McHenry criticized the media for not giving Trump enough praise for intervening on the boys’ behalf:
Anyone going to give @realDonaldTrump credit for getting the Chinese President to send UCLA boys home, just one week after shoplifting? If this was Obama, praise would be all over the news.
— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) November 14, 2017
Trump social media director, Dan Scavino, then attacked Lavar Ball directly, calling him a “big mouth”:
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) November 18, 2017
Knowing Lavar Ball, the clap back from Trump and Scavino will not go over well. Never one to miss an opportunity for publicity, the Shock Exchange expects him to hit back with the quickness. The tete-a-tete between Trump and Ball will obviously create even more fodder for the blogs and social media. However, after everyone finished “stunting for the ‘gram” what will they have solved. The kids are home – safe and sound – and spared from their public caning, but did they learn their lesson? Ball should simply thank the president for his grand gesture and keep it moving. His son’s shoplifting in China and his lack of home training is not something he wants to remain in the public consciousness.
Trump And The Global Economy
The second installment of Trump And The Global Economy Town Hall took place October 24th in Fort Greene. It Featured Professor Lance Brofman, Coconut Rob (Coconut Rob Smoothies), Wuyi Jacobs (AfroBeats Radio) and Ralph Baker, author of Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead.
The event was well-received by the community. We parsed through President Trump’s proposed tax plan and [i] how it was pure economic folly and [ii] high net worth individuals could potentially game the system by shifting income around. Apparently, Kansas Coach Bill Self did this when the state of Kansas cut taxes in the past. We discussed the pros and cons of technology on workers and the economy. How will the economy and country prosper under Trump’s leadership vis-a-vis Obama? What’s behind the verbal sparring with black athletes, ESPN’s Jemele Hill and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?