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LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates granted return to America following shoplifting arrest

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The group of UCLA student athletes who were arrested in China have returned home.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jaden Hill have returned to America after being arrested on shoplifting charges in China. The UCLA Bruins players have been suspended indefinitely, which is a small price to pay compared to the 3-to-10 years they could have faced in foreign prison upon conviction.

“I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the stores in China. I didn’t exercise my best judgment and I was wrong for that. I apologize to my family, my coaches, my teammates and UCLA for letting so many people down.

“I also apologize to the people in China for causing them so much trouble. I’m a young man, however it’s not an excuse for making a really stupid decision,” Ball said during a press conference upon the group’s return.

The three students reportedly stole a pair of high-end sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the team’s hotel in Shanghai, according to ESPN. Reports leading up to their return indicated that President Donald Trump had contacted Chinese officials about the situation during his trip through Asia, with the president himself confirming it in a tweet Wednesday morning.

“I’d also like to thank President Trump, and the United States government, for the help that they provided as well,” Ball said, acknowleding the intervention from Trump.

A foreign situation involving the Ball family escalating to involving the president? Yep. Lonzo Ball didn’t have much to say about the situation during morning shootaround with the Los Angeles Lakers, noting he was just happy that his brother was back home:

What’s next for LiAngelo? An indefinite suspension and mistake like this certainly doesn’t bode well for his professional career as a basketball player going forward. It’s up to him to use what quite literally was a “get out of jail” free card as a chance to re-focus himself.

“This does not define who I am,” Ball said. “My family raised me better than that, and I’m going to make myself a better person from here on out.”