Former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Sha-ron Wright blasted LaVar Ball, Sr. for his war of words with President Donald J. Trump over whether Ball’s “troops on the ground” or Trump’s influence with Chinese President Xi Jinping led to Ball’s son LiAngelo Ball being released from Chinese custody.
“I’m not a Republican or a Trump supporter by any means, but if Sharone, Jr. or Nicholas or Thijs was in China and was being detained for a crime that was typically punishable by a few years in a Chinese jail and Trump got him out and set free, I would have said thank you,” the father of three up and coming basketball players said.
LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates were arrested for shoplifting while in China to play a basketball game against Georgia Tech. Their arrest occurred while the US President was in China on a state visit. Over cocktails, Trump asked Jinping if he would secure the young men’s release. After Trump left China the three were released and allowed to return to the USA.
Ball downplayed the role played by Trump in his son’s release, stating that if LiAngelo had been placed on Air Force One and brought back to the country with Trump, then he would have offered a thanks to the President.
“I’ve lived and played in China for two years and yes it’s a Communist country. They take these types of things seriously. They don’t know anything about “Big Baller” brand and could care less,” Wright said.
In 1994, Wright, a Clemson graduate, was the sixth overall pick in the NBA draft. He was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers. Wright’s High School coach, the legendary Donald Richardson at Southwest High in Macon, Georgia was a stickler for discipline and taught winning by developing high moral character in his student athletes.
Wright believes that Ball, Sr. should be more concerned with what is in LiAngelo’s best interest than with selling the “Big Baller” brand.
“In this case,” Wright said, “I believe political influence was definitely used to get the three players out of trouble.”
“Whether Trump used his influence for recognition or not is irrelevant. What’s relevant is getting your son home safe and sound. Get off your high horse and say thank you,” Wright admonished.
Wright believes many in the African American community have been quick to choose sides in what is essentially an ego-tripping twitter war between a Madison Avenue shyster and a Rodeo Drive hustler.
“Some of you will take Ball’s side because you hate Trump or white people or whatever and that’s your business and it’s racist. I don’t like Trump either but I love my sons more. More than politics, racial bullshit and all,” Wright said.
According to Wright, lost in this war of words between Trump and Ball is one simple question:
“As a parent I’d be asking myself what the heck is wrong with my son for stealing anything anyway when supposedly he’s a ‘Big Baller,’ showing up in high school with two Ferrari’s and a Rolls Royce.”
The better question for the public to ask is not whether Trump helped or did not help, rather “How are you (Ball, Sr.) raising your son,” Wright queried.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org