Balling Out in China


Over the past two years, the Ball family has become a household name. Lonzo is a Laker, his youngest brother has a signature shoe, and the occasionally forgotten middle brother, Liangelo, is on the UCLA men’s basketball roster. Until recently, most people did not know who Liangelo was because much of the attention had been on his other brothers. The world was introduced to Liangelo when he robbed three stores in the span of ninety minutes in Shanghai, China.

He literally broke the internet. The media outbreak was outrageous, and it was the first time that the notorious Lavar Ball was at a loss for words. In fact, he actually claimed that the whole ordeal was not a big deal, and that the media was blowing it out of proportion. Lavar and his family were in China to watch Liangelo and shoot their reality show called “Ball in the Family.”

The real question is, “What exactly was Liangelo thinking?” He drives a Ferrari, and his sixteen-year-old brother drives a Lamborghini. It isn’t a question of wealth but of entitlement and stupidity. He believed that he could steal in China and avoid facing the consequences. China, economically, might be capitalist nation, but in regards to its policy, it still remains communist. The United States judicial system and the Chinese system have a stark contrast. Firstly, in China, guilt is assumed and innocence must be proven, and it is very rare that a judge rules against the prosecutor. In fact, the prosecution rate is ninety-nine percent which are not great odds. In Liangelo’s case, experts were saying that he could serve from three to ten years in a Chinese prison.

After UCLA finished their game, they flew back to Los Angeles without Liangelo and his two accomplices. Luckily, they were put under house arrest at the Shanghai Hyatt which is favorable for a Chinese prison. The State Department, UCLA, and the President all combined their forces to help rescue Ball and his posse from serving possible prison time. And for those who are upset about the players not receiving any real consequence, all three of the athletes have been suspended from the team indefinitely. They are forbidden from practicing, playing, and travelling with the team. All three of them were expected to make large contributions to the Bruins this year.

The circumstances in which the players were arrested were very lucky because President Trump was in China as well, and China is known for having a large interest in basketball. The diplomats of the State Department also monitored the situation and made sure that the UCLA players were being treated humanely.

I am sure that I was not the only person who was completely surprised by the ESPN notification I received saying, “Liangelo Ball and two other UCLA basketball players have been arrested in China.” The energy, time, and money that he has wasted is very disappointing. Although he is just a nineteen-year-old boy, he should still know how to act in a different country and should be ashamed of himself. This is embarrassing for our country, for his team, and his family. But no worries, he’s home now, and I am absolutely sure that ESPN will find a way to turn this entire debacle into a wonderful 30-for-30 film documentary a decade from now.