President Donald Trump escalated what has arguably been his most mindless feud yet by calling the father of a college basketball player “a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair” and an “ungrateful fool.”
Trump’s tweets early Wednesday continue the president’s back-and-forth jeers with LaVar Ball, whose son LiAngelo Ball was one of three UCLA basketball players arrested in China on shoplifting charges earlier this month. The athletes were eventually released ― an outcome that Trump has very publicly taken credit for ― but Ball isn’t having any of it.
“Everybody wants to make it seem like [Trump] helped me out,” the elder Ball told ESPN last week. “I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”
Trump’s latest criticism seems to be in response to comments the elder Ball made on Monday night, that “if I was going to thank somebody, I’d probably thank President Xi.”
Experts told the New York Times that the players probably would have been released without Trump’s help, because― contrary to the president’s claims― shoplifting isn’t a serious crime in China.
The younger Ball and his teammates returned home last week, but they’ve been suspended indefinitely from the team.