Donald Trump calls UCLA player's father an 'ungrateful fool'

LaVar Ball, father of LiAngelo Ball and the owner of the Big Baller brand, in Shanghai on Nov 10, 2017.
LaVar Ball, father of LiAngelo Ball and the owner of the Big Baller brand, in Shanghai on Nov 10, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump may be on vacation at his resort in Florida, but he was up early on Wednesday (Nov 22), railing against a college basketball player's father - "ungrateful fool!" - and the NFL in a series of Twitter posts before 6am.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Trump apparently felt he was not getting enough credit for helping to free three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China after being accused of shoplifting designer sunglasses.

"It wasn't the White House, it wasn't the State Department, it wasn't father LaVar's so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think...", Trump continued on Twitter.

"...LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It's a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!"

LaVar Ball is the outspoken father of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball, who, along with his teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, was released from Chinese custody after Trump intervened.

LaVar Ball has played down Trump's involvement.

Trump tweeted and retweeted about a variety of topics early on Wednesday, but it was not until 8am that the President posted about the US Navy aircraft that crashed outside of Okinawa, Japan, carrying 11 crew and passengers.

Eight aboard were rescued and American and Japanese naval forces were searching for the other three. It was the fifth accident this year for the Navy's largest overseas fleet, the 7th Fleet.

Trump has been briefed on the crash and posted on Twitter that he was monitoring the situation.


In his burst of early Twitter posts on Wednesday, Trump returned to a favourite topic: professional football players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

Trump has excoriated the NFL for allowing players to make the gesture, which he sees as disrespecting the American flag.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the league was considering a policy change under which players would stay in the locker room during the playing of the anthem.

"That's almost as bad as kneeling!" Trump tweeted.