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Trump asked for Xi's help in UCLA players' shoplifting case in China

14 November 2017

UCLA's trip coincided with Trump's two-day state visit to the Chinese capital, Beijing.

The freshman players - LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill - were detained last Tuesday on suspicion of shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou.

ESPN reported that authorities have surveillance footage of the players stealing from three stores.

Besides occurring the same week as Trump's visit, the case has raised waves in the United States due to the involvement of LiAngelo Ball, one of three high-profile basketball-playing sons of LaVar Ball. The White House said Xi assured Trump that he would "ensure the three players are treated fairly" and that the case moves toward a resolution. Los Angeles Lakers rookie and big bro Lonzo also did not have much involvement on the issue and, per instructions of his team and family, focused more instead on fixing his early-season struggles with the 16-time National Basketball Association champion franchise.

A UCLA spokesperson declined to address whether the players would face disciplinary action from the school upon their return, nor to say who was paying for the players' extended stay at the Hyatt Regency, where standard rooms were commanding about $278 per night on the hotel's website.

UCLA defeated Georgia Tech 63-60 in what was the season opener for both teams. While the rest of the team flew home after the game, the three freshmen were forced to stay behind as the investigation played out. UCLA representatives, including Alford, were at the police station along with the players.

"Whatever the legal issues are, they are trumped by the politics", Rosen wrote in an email last week.

After facing 3-10 years in a Chinese Prison, LiAngelo Ball and his two UCLA teammates have the commander in chief in their corner fighting to get them out of China and back in the states as soon as possible.

The Ball patriarch has since been unnaturally silent during the whole ordeal, but did comment on Twitter that "It ain't that big a deal".

Trump asked for Xi's help in UCLA players' shoplifting case in China