LiAngelo Ball Is On His Way Back From China After His Shoplifting Arrest
Last week, LiAngelo Ball proved he might be the least ballerist member of the Big Baller Brand when he and two of his UCLA teammates— Cody Riley and Jalen Hil— were arrested for shoplifting after stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in China (because they were apparently unaware you can buy a knockoff pair for cheap literally anywhere in the country). The trio had traveled to the country with their team to play a couple of games in Shanghai, but the athletes were forced to miss them after being sequestered in the hotel they were staying at while police conducted an investigation.
Following the arrest, there was plenty of speculation about what might happen to the players. Initial reports suggested they could face up to ten years in prison, but people familiar with the Chinese legal system suggested it was more likely they would face house arrest and potentially be banned from returning to the country. China successfully prosecutes 99% of cases it brings to trial, so it’s safe to say that things weren’t exactly looking good for the players.
Things took an interesting turn the other day when Donald Trump asked China’s president Xi Jinping to do what he could to help the players out (I can only assume Trump is a big fan of LaVar Ball based on how much the two have in common). It seems like the request paid off, as the Wall Street Journal reports Ball and his teammates were spotted at a Chinese airport on Tuesday getting ready to board a flight back to Los Angeles.
It’s still unclear what punishment the players will face (if any), but I’d personally be more terrified of having to deal with the NCAA than Chinese authorities. I wish them all the best of luck.