CNN did nothing to boost its sapping credibility Monday night, when it had anchor Chris Cuomo interview blowhard basketball patriarch LaVar Ball for 22 minutes.
Ball’s appearance was all about his refusal to thank President Trump for helping his son get out of trouble in China.
LiAngelo, Ball’s son, was arrested for stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel the UCLA basketball team was staying at during its recent trip to the country. Ball’s teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill also got pinched; all three are freshman on the Bruins.
Upon their arrest, reports said shoplifting in China carries penalties as severe as three to ten years in jail. Realistically, the young men were not going to do nearly that much time, if any at all.
Nevertheless, Trump was touring Asia while the incident occurred, and he says he pulled some strings with China president Xi Jinping to help get Ball and his two teammates released back home to the United States.
Trump being Trump, he didn’t miss his chance to self-promote, and he told the world about his good deed.
To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2017
LaVar was then asked about Trump’s role in helping his son get unsnagged from China’s legal system, to which Ball responded, “Who?
“What was he over there for?,” Ball continued. “Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
As one may have guessed, that sort of disrespect didn’t sit well with Trump, who now says he regrets helping out and that he should have left the younger Ball in jail.
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
The whole situation is bizarre, as are most things LaVar Ball and Donald Trump are involved in. When they’re both involved in the same thing, it’s outright lunacy. That’s why a major national news outlet should have probably stayed away.
Instead, CNN dived in head-first:
If you made it through the entire interview, you have too much time on your hands. It’s basically two people screaming at each other about why or why not LaVar should have thanked Trump.
LaVar Ball says he would have thanked Trump if Trump had flown the UCLA players back on Air Force One. Or something like that. CNN interview is as crazy as expected.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) November 21, 2017
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) November 21, 2017
What are we doing pic.twitter.com/TwsWM5lzoJ
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) November 21, 2017
Ball, though, deserves credit. He knows how to get people talking about him and his three basketball-player sons, and as we know, publicity equals fame equals money.
LaVar brought that thing back around in a big way. Got in a ton of BBB plugs, made friends with Chris Cuomo, got to make the whole thing a joke. Started out rocky, but dude brought it home.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) November 21, 2017