LiAngelo Ball was reportedly one of three UCLA basketball players arrested Tuesday in China for shoplifting. LiAngelo, of course, is the middle son of celebrity basketball dad LaVar Ball.
The trio could face between three and 10 years in prison if convicted.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman first reported the incident, which also involved highly touted UCLA freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill. According to ESPN, Chinese cops are grilling the three about stolen merchandise from a Louis Vuitton store near where the team is staying.
“He’ll be fine,” LaVar Ball told ESPN’s Arash Markazi. “Everybody’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big of a deal.”
Riley and Hill are both top-50 recruits, while Ball owns one of the most recognizable names in sports right now thanks to his father’s big mouth and bombastic antics. LaVar Ball, who is traveling with UCLA, will reportedly address the media Wednesday.
Also in country: Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week in Beijing as part of his own trip through Asia. How’s that for timing?
“We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China,” the school said in a statement. “The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
According to ESPN, almost 20 Chinese police swarmed UCLA’s hotel, the Hyatt Hangzhou, around 8 a.m. local time, separated them from coaches and detained “several” Georgia Tech and UCLA players for hours.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, cops went through the cargo bays of the team buses before they left for practice.
“They weren’t messing around,” a source told ESPN. “The kids were scared.”
LaVar Ball later provided an additional statement to ESPN’s Arash Markazi.
“It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball Family, and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly,” Ball said in a statement to ESPN.
Georgia Tech players Justin Moore, Jose Alvarado and Jon Brown were also questioned but later released, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The three UCLA players were taken in for further questioning around 1 p.m. local time, according to ESPN.
“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated,” Georgia Tech said in the statement. “They have resumed their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener versus UCLA in Shanghai.”