UCLA Basketball Players Thank President Trump as They Return to U.S. Soil

Trump had suggested the college students be released after they had allegedly shoplifted sunglasses.

Three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China after an alleged shoplifting incident have thanked President Trump, hours after the commander in chief boasted on Twitter about securing their release. 

“Do you think the three UCLA basketball players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted Wednesday morning.


Later Wednesday afternoon, UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley appeared at a packed news conference at the school's Pauley Pavilion. 

During the press conference, all three players thanked the president and the U.S. government for their help in helping to get them home. 

Trump personally asked the president of China to release the trio, who were held for allegedly shoplifting expensive Louis Vuitton sunglasses.  

At the press conference, the accused players also apologized for their actions and said they did not exercise the proper judgment. 

The players had nothing to say to the swarm of photographers who greeted them at LAX Airport after their flight from China landed Tuesday night.  

Ball is a member of the high-profile Ball family. His brother, Lonzo, plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and his younger brother LaMelo is a top high school prospect. They even have their own online reality show on Facebook called Ball in the Family.

At Wednesday’s news conference, the players left after declining to answer any questions.

UCLA Coach Steve Alford said the players have been suspended indefinitely and have to earn their way back onto the team.

It is unknown what provisions or deals with China, if any, were made for their release.