It sounds like we may be in for a very special episode of Ball In The Family, and not thanks to LaVar or Lonzo Ball. Lonzo’s middle brother LiAngelo, a freshman guard for UCLA, was reportedly arrested for shoplifting during the Bruins’ trip to China, alongside freshmen forward teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman has the details:
Three UCLA men’s basketball players — including LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball — were arrested in China just days before Friday’s season-opening game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
…UCLA released a statement: “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
…One source told ESPN that nearly 20 police officers came into the Hyatt Hangzhou at approximately 8 a.m. local time Tuesday and spoke to multiple players from both Georgia Tech and UCLA. The players, according to the source, were kept in a room for hours and not allowed to speak to any of the coaches.
“They weren’t messing around,” the source told ESPN. “The kids were scared.”
The Georgia Tech players were allowed to leave the room hours later, and the UCLA players were seen getting into a police vehicle around 1 p.m. local time, according to the source.
Georgia Tech put out a statement that “During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated,” so this appears to be only a problem for the Bruins. And while it’s far from unheard of for college student-athletes to get in trouble for minor crimes on international preseason trips, this one’s going to get a little more notice than usual thanks to LiAngelo’s involvement.
Interestingly, unlike brothers Lonzo and LaMelo and father LaVar, LiAngelo doesn’t currently have a Wikipedia entry, with searches for “LiAngelo Ball” redirecting to “LaVar Ball.” That seems likely to change soon. But a shoplifting charge isn’t the greatest way to step out of your family’s shadow…