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College Basketball

LiAngelo Ball provides dubious excuse for shoplifting controversy

LiAngelo Ball made the media rounds on Tuesday in the wake of the surprising news he is leaving the UCLA basketball program following an indefinite suspension stemming from his recent shoplifting scandal in China.

Ball, joined of course by outspoken father LaVar, made an appearance on NBC’s “TODAY.” During the interview that aired on the morning news show, LiAngelo Ball provided an arguably dubious excuse for why he got ensnared in the shoplifting controversy in the first place:

He only started shoplifting after his teammates did it first.

“We all went out one night, went to the malls, went to the Louis Vuitton store and, uh, people started taking stuff, and then, you know, me just not thinking and being with them, I took something too,” Ball said.

“… And we left thinking we’ll just get away — you know how kids think. I didn’t realize ‘til I got back to my hotel, I’m like, ‘That was stupid.’ But by then it was too late,” Ball continued. “And then sure enough, the next morning, the police came and got us.”

Ball went on to say the day-and-a-half he spent in police custody was “horrible.”

The elder Ball also explained his reasoning behind pulling his son out of UCLA, arguing that once the charges were dropped in China, a suspension was not warranted.

“China already said, ‘OK, he made a bad mistake, we’re going to drop the charges.’ That’s the punishment they gave him, Ball said. “Now we over here — we gotta serve some more punishment? He apologized. What is the long process for? We only went to UCLA — one and done — to play basketball.”

LaVar Ball and Donald Trump have been embroiled in an ugly feud over disagreements concerning how much influence the President exerted in getting shoplifting charges dropped for LiAngelo and two UCLA teammates. Ball even claims to have sent Trump some Big Baller Brand shoes, but it’s unclear whether or not the President has received them yet.