It appears LaVar Ball has opted for the nuclear option for his middle son, LiAngelo.
Ball is reportedly pulling his son out of UCLA despite his full basketball scholarship, per TMZ.
This is a stunning turn of events for Ball, who had previously insisted that his sons be a package deal to play basketball for the Bruins.
Lonzo Ball played a year at UCLA, LiAngelo was slated to play this year, and LaMelo, 16, had previously committed to play there.
LiAngelo Ball was indefinitely suspended from UCLA following an international incident where he and fellow UCLA freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were caught shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store in China.
President Donald Trump reportedly had to intervene on their behalf to keep the boys out of prison. Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the matter quickly.
According to TMZ’s sources, the outspoken dad believes “there’s no need to break down a kid’s spirit for making a mistake.”
LaVar Ball, who has repeatedly downplayed the severity of his son’s shoplifting, believes that no suspension should be levied against his son because all charges were ultimately dropped.
Of note, LiAngelo Ball and the other UCLA freshmen each admitted to and apologized for shoplifting during the trip to China.
LaVar Ball, for his part, hasn’t been particularly thankful for Trump for whatever role the president may have played in the release of his son.
Naturally, Trump didn’t take too kindly to Ball’s lack of gratitude.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
This wouldn’t be the first time that Ball has pulled one of his sons from school over a dispute. LaMelo Ball was pulled out of Chino High School because his father reportedly clashed with the basketball coach there.
This move could also hurt LiAngelo Ball’s already ailing NBA draft stock.
The freshman has widely been considered the weakest prospect of the three Ball brothers. He was projected to be a mid- to late-second-round pick, but that was before the shoplifting incident and reports of being pulled out of UCLA.
Although there may be a method to LaVar Ball’s madness, the patriarch of The Big Baller Brand has always said he wants all of his children to play for the Lakers.
If LiAngelo Ball goes undrafted, it would open the option of him being signed by the Lakers as an undrafted free agent.
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