LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, one of the three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China for shoplifting, said President Donald Trump needs a pair of his Big Baller Brand ZO2 shoes “so he can calm down a little bit.”
“I sent Trump his shoes,” Ball told TMZ Sports at Staples Center after Lakers vs. Warriors game on Wednesday night. His other son, Lonzo, plays for the Lakers.
“He should have them — unless they took ’em!”
The White House said Thursday it has not yet received the shoes, but are “trying to track them down,” according to TMZ Sports.
Ball has played down Trump’s alleged involvement in getting the UCLA basketball teammates back home after they admitted to stealing items from three stores during a team trip to China in November.
Last week, Trump went on a Twitter tirade calling Ball an “ungrateful fool” for not thanking him. He took sole credit for getting the basketball players out of a long-term prison sentence — and not the White House, the State Department or Ball’s associates in China.
“IT WAS ME. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think… ,” Trump tweeted.
Although Ball’s brand has benefited from his feud with Trump, he has endured unnecessary and demeaning comments from the president of the United States.
Last week, CNN host John Berman asked Tony Schwartz, co-author of Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal”: “What is it about LaVar Ball that bothers the president so much? Is it what he said? Or, as some are alleging, how he looks?
“Both,” Schwartz began. “First of all, [LaVar Ball] is a tall, Black man and I think Trump is half awed and half frightened by Black people. And his only way in dealing with them is to attack them.
“And on the other hand, I think he has a zero tolerance for any criticism of any kind. That’s why he goes after anybody who’s said anything virtually about him that’s negative.”
Berman asked Schwartz what was the basis for his thoughts on Trump.
He responded, “Well, I watched him unequivocally awed during the many times I saw him with members of the team he owned in the USFL and when he sponsored prize fights. I think he had this kind of ambivalent relationship where he wished he could have been an athlete like they were. And, on the other hand, if he felt fear, he always felt aggression; and a need to put them down.”
Biographer Michael D’Antonio, who wrote “The Truth About Trump,” was also a guest on the show. He said that Trump shops for enemies and agreed with Schwartz’s comments.
“I think what Tony said was correct that there are these dual motivations on [Trump’s] part,” D’Antonio said.
“One the one hand, it is racial. On the other hand, he’s very thin-skinned. But I think we have to notice whodunnits that he responds to. He will go after someone he can frame perfectly, often for his base. In this case, this is yet another member of the Black community, also someone connected to the world of sports.
“[Trump] initiated a lot of the furor over the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ protest because it was Black athletes. I didn’t see that he ever actually went after any of the white players who knelt in solidarity.”
In regard to Trump’s mental health, Schwartz said Wednesday on MSBNC that the president is “losing his grip on reality.”
Host Ari Melber said that Schwartz has known Trump for quite some time.
“You were around him in more settings,” Melber said. “When you see Donald Trump today, and you see what he’s saying that is false, is it about what you saw then, or do you see a change?”
Schwartz responded, “There’s a pretty dramatic change. He is more limited in his vocabulary. He is further from his connection of what is factual and real. He is more impulsive. He is more reactive. This is a guy in deep trouble and one of the problems we have right now is that we’re not very sympathetic to the psychological and psychiatric community. But that’s who we need to be talking to.”
Schwartz also said that some White House employees have expressed concern over Trump’s mental health.
“I know that two different people from the White House, or at least saying they were from the White House and that turned out to be a White House number, have called somebody I know in the last several weeks to say ‘We are deeply concerned about his mental health,'” he said.
“How do you know that?” Melber asked him.
Schwartz responded, “I know that because I know the person that they called. And, this is a person who I absolutely trust who has great integrity.”