Donald Trump attacks LaVar Ball as 'poor man's Don King' in row over China release of basketball player son

'IT WAS ME' who helped free LiAngelo Ball and his two teammates, tweets US President as he calls player's father an 'ungrateful fool'

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 22 November 2017 11:36
Donald Trump attacks LaVar Ball as 'poor man's Don King' in row over China release of basketball player son

Donald Trump has launched a new personal attack against the father of a US basketball player, after he refused to thank the President for his role in securing his son’s release from prison in China.

Mr Trump tweeted that LaVar Ball was an “ungrateful fool” and a “poor man’s Don King” after the player’s father suggested he personally negotiated his son’s release. “IT WAS ME,” the President tweeted on Wednesday morning.

UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball and two teammates were arrested in China earlier this month, after shoplifting from stores in Shanghai before the team’s season opener. The three men were released after admitting to their crimes, according to school officials.

Mr Trump later claimed that he, too, had had a hand in securing the boy’s release, saying he personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to look into the issue.

The billionaire said on Wednesday: “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME. Too bad!

“LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you.

“But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!”

Mr Ball said in response to previous claims by Mr Trump: “That’s on your mind, that a father didn’t say ‘Thank you’? And you’re the head of the US?.

“Come on. There’s a lot of other things that’s going on. Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son, and let’s just stay in our lane.”

Mr Ball, known for his television appearances discussing his children and promoting his brand, seemed to suggest on Monday that he had played a part in the athletes’ release.

“I’m just saying I had some things done, I had some people who did some other things,” he told CNN, but declined to clarify.

Mr Trump later retweeted Joey Mannarino, an internet radio host, who said: “The ungratefulness is something I’ve never seen before. If you get someone’s son out of prison, he should be grateful to you! Period. I don’t care. If Hillary got my kid out of prison, as much as I hate the woman, I’d thank her corrupt ass!”.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called for law enforcement to investigate "Crooked Hillary" and led his supporters in chants of "Lock her up!" during campaign rallies.

Ms Clinton, a former senator and Secretary of State, who the billionaire defeated in last year's presidential election, has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

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