Home | News | Sports: CNN interview with LaVar Ball goes off the rails as he tries to explain why he dismissed Trump's help

Sports: CNN interview with LaVar Ball goes off the rails as he tries to explain why he dismissed Trump's help

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  • LaVar Ball was a guest on CNN to discuss his feud with President Donald Trump.
  • Ball dismissed Trump's assistance, suggesting that the president didn't actually do anything to help the situation.
  • Ball said he would have thanked the president if the UCLA players actually came home on Air Force One.


LaVar Ball, who is famous for being the father of some good basketball players and talking boisterously about it, sat down with CNN on Monday night to discuss his war of words with President Donald Trump. The interview quickly went off the rails as Ball created more confusion than actual answers.

In an interview that lasted more than 20 minutes, Ball spent the majority of time sparring with CNN host Chris Cuomo. Ball refused to thank Trump for his assistance in freeing his son, LiAngelo Ball, and two other UCLA basketball players after they were arrested and charged with shoplifting during a recent team trip to China.

Ball started the interview by questioning why Trump was in China in the first place, insinuating that it was just a coincidence that Trump happened to be in China at the time the players were arrested.

"He didn't even know they were over there," Ball said. "What was he even over there for in the first place? ... What I'm trying to say is, it's not like he was in the US and said, 'there's three kids in China, I need to go over there and get 'em.' That wasn't the thought process."

Ball then tried to explain why he wouldn't thank the president.

"I don't have to go around saying 'thank you' to everybody," Ball said. "He didn't call me. I didn't shake his hand. He didn't have to say nothin', but I'm just sayin'. I have to know what somebody is doing before I say 'thank you.' I'm not just going to go around saying thank you."

Ball then suggested that they were already working behind the scenes to secure the players' release before Trump got involved.

"Maybe we were doing some talking with some other people before he even got there," Ball said, before adding that the president should deal with political matters, "there is a lot of other matters going around for the president to deal with that's political. As far as me, let me deal with my son."

Things only deteriorated from there between Cuomo and Ball as Ball, on multiple occasions, suggested Trump did not help the UCLA players because he did not bring them home on Air Force One.

"I'll tell you this. If I'm coming to get you, let's say I'm coming to get you out of trouble," Ball said. "You best believe I am going to take you with me."

See if you can follow the logic here in which various versions of the word "confusion" are muttered numerous times and ends with Ball saying if anybody needs to be thanked it is Chinese president Xi Jinping:

Ball did say "that was nice," when told Trump talked to Xi about his son's situation, but again asked, "what did he do for my son?" But Ball reiterated, "I'm not just saying thank you to anybody for nothing," and noted that he "had some things done" and that he spoke with other people who "did some other things too."

Ball also explained why thought it "wasn't a big deal," saying he has seen friends go to prison for worse crimes and his son "wasn't physical, he returned it, he fessed up to it ... nobody got hurt."

He then dismissed again Trump's influence on the release, noting that the president said he should have left them in jail.

"First of all, they weren't in jail, they was in a hotel," Ball said. "Now, how did they get to the hotel on bail? Somebody had to do something ... If he helped, I'd say 'thank you.'"

At that point, Ball and Cuomo got into a bizarre argument over who was actually there.

Ball then reiterated that he he "don't know" if the president actually helped in the release of the players, dropping one of his favorite lines, saying "let's just stay in our lane," in reference to the president sticking to politics and LaVar Ball dealing with his son.

This led to an argument over whether or not Ball "took a shot" at the president.

But if things seemed like they were already off the rails, the interview really went haywire when the pair sparred over thank yous, whether Cuomo would thank Ball for his appearance, and going full circle to Ball saying he would have thanked the president if "he would have put him on his plane and took them home."

A retort from Trump at this point feels inevitable.

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