Three UCLA men’s basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China are on their way back to the United States after President Trump personally intervened in the case with China’s head of state, Xi Jinping. The three players — LiAngelo Ball (brother of Lonzo and son of LeVar), Jalen Hill and Cody Riley — were caught by video cameras stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to where the team was staying on its visit to China.
The three were detained (in a luxury hotel) and not able to travel back to the U.S. with the team. Had they gone through the Chinese judicial process, there’s little doubt they would have been convicted and spent considerable time in prison.
Trump raised the matter of Xi during his visit to Asia. According to Trump, Xi then helped resolve the matter. “He’s been terrific on that subject,” the president reported.
Two questions remain. First, will UCLA permit the three players (all of them freshmen) to play this season? It shouldn’t.
Second, what, if anything, did the president do or promise in exchange for the release of the players? I doubt he made any meaningful concession
But even if he didn’t, Trump now owes Xi one — thanks to the criminal, “entitled” behavior of the three knuckleheads.