Many people online are calling the news about the ongoing social media “feud” between Big Baller Brand founder LaVar Ball, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball’s father, and United States president Donald Trump as the season finale of the year 2017. Celebrities and online personalities have given their reactions. Just recently, add ESPN First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith to that list.
In a recent episode of the show, Smith asked fellow commentator Max Kellerman if it is “really that hard” for Ball to say “thank you” to U.S. president Trump. Trump reportedly “helped” LaVar’s son, LiAngelo, and two of his UCLA teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, go home from China.
The three UCLA basketball players were detained in the Far East nation two weeks ago for shoplifting charges. Ball and his teammates could have faced 3 to 10 years of imprisonment if convicted, according to Yahoo Sports.
A separate report noted that Trump, who was by chance in China at that time, had met with Chinese president Xi Jinping and “lobbied for leniency” for the release of the three American players. LiAngelo and his teammates went home to the U.S. last week and thanked Trump in a press conference.
Meanwhile, LiAngelo’s father, LaVar, refused to publicly thank the U.S. president, which began the internet “word war” between the two. LaVar downplayed Trump’s role in his son’s release in an interview with ESPN on Friday. Trump had reacted on Twitter, saying that he “should have left them in jail.”
Ball then answered back in a lengthy CNN interview with Chris Cuomo by saying he does not have to “go around saying thank you to everybody.”
Kellerman said that Ball is just being “consistent” about his behavior, citing a recent “bullying” incident on his other son’s (LaMelo) high school coach. Kellerman noted that it does not matter to Ball whether it is an unknown high school coach or the American president, he “treats everyone the same.”
However, Smith answered that Ball should have thanked the president because of “common decency.” Smith went on to say that “the fact of the matter” is LiAngelo committed a crime in a “communist nation with laws vastly different from America.” He then said that LiAngelo was “incredibly fortunate that the president took the actions that he took.”
Here are more of Smith’s comments.
“Now, obviously because of a host of other reasons, most of us as American citizens aren’t inclined to give our president the benefit of the doubt or any kind of applause in this day and age. But when it’s due, it’s due. And it doesn’t have anything to do with him. It has everything to do with your core decency.”
And another one.
“All I’m saying is that if my child went to another nation and committed a crime, and the president got them out and enabled them to come home, it isn’t hard to say ‘thank you.’ And just because you are consistent in your behavior doesn’t make you right.”
Smith ended by saying he was “alarmed” by the fact that “it is so difficult for LaVar Ball to just say ‘thank you’.”
President Trump has yet to react to Ball’s interview with Cuomo.
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