WESTWOOD—Three UCLA basketball players, including freshman LiAngelo Ball, were arrested on Tuesday, November 7 for shoplifting while in China.
LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were arrested for stealing from a Chinese Louis Vuitton store and posted bail on Wednesday and have been ordered to remain in their hotel until legal issues are resolved. They were caught on camera stealing sunglasses from the store, which is located close to the Hyatt Regency hotel where they were staying.
On Tuesday, police arrived at the Hyatt Regency and met with the players, as well as UCLA basketball staff and interpreters. Ball, Hill and Riley were taken into custody, transporting them to a Chinese police station where they remained until 4 a.m. on Wednesday. If prosecuted, all three could face 3 to 10 years in prison for stealing high-value items, which is an average sentence for such a theft in China.
The team was originally in Hangzhou, China, temporarily. They are set to play Georgia Tech in the season opener in Shanghai on Friday, November 10 and were staying in Hangzhou until the game. Ball, Bell and Riley will likely miss Friday’s game. The rest of the team visited Disneyland in Hangzhou without them.
UCLA released a statement on Tuesday stating “[The university is] aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China.” The university explained that it “is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
Larry Scott, Pac-12 Commissioner addressed the incident, announcing “we are very disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about. Whether in the United States or abroad, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
According to ESPN, Ball, Riley and Bell “were treated with the utmost respect, kindness and professionalism at all times by the Hangzhou police,” and that “the players questioned were respectful at all times. None of this was confrontational.”
Ball is the younger brother of Lonzo Ball, an UCLA basketball alum and current rookie playing in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. His father, LaVar Ball, is the founder of Big Baller Brand. Ball did release a short statement indicating “it is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball family and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time.”
He added that the family would address the incident once they had more intel on it and that his son would be “fine.”
Written By George Morris