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The Latest on LiAngelo Ball’s Detainment in China

It has been almost a week since LiAngelo Ball was arrested for shoplifting in China, and publicly there are few answers on what type of judicial process he and his teammates will face before they are allowed to travel back to the U.S.

Ball and fellow UCLA freshmen basketball players Jalen Hill and Cody Riley have been detained since Nov. 8, held in a hotel by Hangzhou Police until an investigation is completed into the alleged shoplifting incident at a nearby Louis Vuitton store.

It is unclear how long it will take police in China to conduct their investigation, nor how long the subsequent judicial process will take to play out given China’s reputation for having a slow-moving court system.

Meanwhile, the UCLA basketball team flew back to Los Angeles over the weekend without Ball, Hill and Riley after beating Georgia in a game sponsored by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

Joe Tsai, Vice-Chairman of Alibaba Group, who also set to become an owner of the Brooklyn Nets, said the entire incident could be a learning experience for the students.

“I think the spirit of sport is that we do not pursue perfection; what we pursue is progress,” he told The Washington Post. “Young people are bound to make mistakes, but the key is that after you have made a mistake, how do you respond to this situation?”

Though the stakes are high, as a shoplifting conviction in China can result in a sentence of three to 10 years, experts have said that scenario is highly unlikely and that a fine is the most likely result.

Meanwhile, LaVar Ball, LiAngelo’s father, was in China last week and has been attending to his son’s situation. In a statement released about the allegations against LiAngelo, LaVar offered insight into how the family is handling the incident, saying “it is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball family and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time.” The statement also said the family will comment on the matter a later time.

The Ball Family, including youngest son LaMelo and mother Tina Ball, were all in China to take in LiAngelo’s game and to promote two pop-up shop openings the family’s Big Baller Brand (BBB) apparel and footwear company is having in the country later this month. The family was also in China filming for season two of their Facebook reality show “Ball in the Family.”

LiAngelo is the second-oldest son in the Ball family. His older brother, Lonzo Ball, is a standout rookie for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.

Meanwhile as the investigation in China continues, The Washington Post is reporting that President Donald Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping last week to “help resolve the case” against LiAngelo Ball and his teammates.  The Chinese president promised to look into the case and ensure that the players are treated fairly and expeditiously, the Post reported.

Last week, the U.S. State Departments issued a statement to TMZ, saying that it is “aware of reports of three U.S. citizens arrested and subsequently released on bail in China” and that “we are ready to provide appropriate consular assistance for U.S. citizens.”