LaVar Ball, father of one of the three U.S. basketball players detained in China, seems done with this back and forth with President Trump. After Trump, who aided in the athletes’ release, felt he wasn’t properly thanked by Ball, he tweeted about how he should’ve left the players in jail.
“If you help, you shouldn’t have to say anything,” Ball told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview. “If I helped somebody, I don’t walk around saying, ‘You know I helped you now? Come on! Give me some love!’”
Ball’s son, LiAngelo Ball, was detained trying to leave China when he and two other players were reportedly caught shoplifting. Trump, already in China on his tour of Asia, was informed of the situation and intervened to have them released.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail,” Trump tweeted. After this apparent solicitation, the players thanked Trump. Ball did not.
When asked about Trump’s assistance by ESPN, Ball remarked, “Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail,” Trump tweeted in response.
“Somebody told me about the tweet a couple days ago. I don’t even tweet,” Ball told CNN. “I’m just saying, why is that on your mind? All this stuff is going on and that’s on your mind, that a father didn’t say thank you? And you’re supposed to be, you know, you’re the head of the U.S.? Come on!”
Ball didn’t think he was criticizing the president with his initial remarks. “If he thinks it, that’s fine,” he said. He later asked, “Why would I be in war with a guy … the most powerful man in the world?”
As shown in separate clips from the interview, Ball said, “I helped my son get out… of China. I had some people who had boots on the ground that knew the situation when we first jumped on it.”
He added, “I say thank you when I see something. I don’t thank you just ‘cause it’s people talking and saying I did this, I did that.”
Ball concluded, “Tell Donald Trump to have a great Thanksgiving.”
Watch clips from the interview above.