UCLA basketball players fly back to United States after shoplifting scandal in China

UCLA basketball players fly back to United States after shoplifting scandal in China

Besides coinciding with Trump's visit, the case drew attention in the United States due to the involvement of Ball, one of three high-profile basketball-playing sons of LaVar Ball.

Per Chinese law, the three players could face significant prison sentences of three to 10 years if convicted of grand larceny.

Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were spotted Tuesday night (local time) at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport checking onto a flight bound for Los Angeles, airline staff told the Wall Street Journal. They will not take questions from the media, AP reported.

With the players stranded in China and at the mercies of the Chinese legal system, President Trump reached out to China's leader to ask him to look into the case, according to the Washington Post.

"What they did was unfortunate", Trump said. "They [the Chinese authorities] do not play games".

The rest of the UCLA team returned to Los Angeles last Saturday without the three.

Since the matter did not occur on the court, it would be up to UCLA whether the players will be punished, Scott said.

The players were released on bail Wednesday morning in Hangzhou, China, and reportedly did not accompany the team back to Los Angeles after UCLA's 63-60 victory over Georgia Tech.

Cody Riley, Jalen Hill, and LiAngelo Ball (the brother of L.A. Lakers star rookie Lonzo Ball, and the son of entrepreneur LaVar Ball - who has become a favorite of ESPN and Saturday Night Live for what many see as over-the-top promotion of his sons) are headed back to the US with the matter reportedly having been resolved.

Even with Trump's help resolving the matter, the future of Ball, Hill and Riley with UCLA is still up in the air.

The team's trip to China would show how sport "can play a role to improve the world by having peaceful, friendly exchanges between people", Commissioner Scott had said prior to the incident.

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