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LiAngelo Ball and the Wrong Kind of Notorious

November 8th, 2017 · No Comments · Basketball, UCLA

From the eastern side of the Atlantic, LiAngelo seemed like the “other” Ball.

We had big brother Lonzo Ball, one-year standout at UCLA, now with the Los Angeles Lakers.

We had LaMelo, the little brother, the quick one who makes tons of threes, who would be a junior in high school if not for his family falling out with the Chino Hills prep coach — and LaMelo withdrawing from school.

And, of course, we had proud papa LaVar, marketing wizard/blowhard for the family and the Big Baller Brand.

Then there was LiAngelo. Middle son. Whose first name was not spelled, in the media, with any consistency until quite recently.

Well, now we all know who LiAngelo is — the Ball who was detained by police in China yesterday, along with UCLA teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, on suspicion of shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store, according to the Washington Post.

Probably not the preferred manner for getting your name in headlines, but we all can spell “LiAngelo” now.

Several reputable news outlets have reported on this, but they cannot seem to agree on what happens next to LiAngelo and his teammates.

They are stuck in a hotel in Hangzhou, the city where the alleged shoplifting occurred, while the rest of the UCLA party has moved on. Obviously, the trio will not play in UCLA’s season-opening game, Friday, in Shanghai.

How and when do they leave?

Depends on your legal expert.

They might get a slap on the hand after a contrite apology and a fine, USA Today suggested.

The Los Angeles Times suggested LiAngelo and Pals could face a lengthy legal limbo, noting that under Chinese law police have 37 days to get an approval for an arrest.

Or they could be headed for hard time in prison under China’s draconian legal system — three to 10 years, Yahoo! reported.

Hard to imagine a less propitious “debut” for LiAngelo and the others.

Even if they get out of China without a prison stint, they may be sitting in a hotel for weeks.

Also, UCLA may not look kindly on the three embarrassing the university. Long suspensions or dismissal from school might be in the cards.

(It is hard to imagine that UCLA officials traveling with the team, from chancellor Gene D. Block to coach Steve Alford and on down to assistant coaches, failed to warn their players to be on their best behavior while representing UCLA abroad.)

About now, LiAngelo probably would be quite happy to have back his reputation of a week ago — a kid shorter and slower than older brother Lonzo, a “three-star” recruit who came off the bench in UCLA’s one scrimmage and who is not expected to play in the NBA. A kid described by former NBA star Tracy McGrady as “not all that good — and I’ve seen him play.”

There are different sorts of notoriety, and not all are good for selling athletic gear. Father LaVar has the useful kind of notoriety; LiAngelo, as of yesterday morning, does not.



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