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LiAngelo Ball on shoplifting incident which may have hurt his NBA chances: “My skin is thick”


LiAngelo Ball is the only Ball brother who is not playing in the NBA. His shoplifting incident in China affected his chances, but the shooting guard admits he does not really regret anything. 

LiAngelo Ball’s shoplifting incident in China

When he was still with UCLA, the team traveled to China to play Georgia Tech in a series of games, but other things transpired. Ball and other teammates shoplifted in several stores after Ball’s credit card was declined as payment for $730 sunglasses. The other teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, grabbed different $15 sunglasses in various stores and beaded bracelets. The next day, Ball was questioned about it. 

The trio tried to deny what they did but admitted after the authorities claimed they were caught on camera. This incident was life-changing for Gelo. He dropped out of UCLA even before the season started and chose to play overseas. His reputation took a hit but looking back; he did not regret anything. 

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“It made me who I am today. I done dealt with so much. I done heard everything — good and bad. Nothing really bothers me. My skin is thick. When I play today, I just keep that same energy. For sure, people cast judgment. I was young, I don’t look back on that. I just learned from it and kept pushing. I’m not gonna let one decision mess up my whole life.”

LiAngelo Ball, via The Athletic

The young baller proved he learned and moved on, but how was the impact of this incident in his future?

Conflict with NBA or Gelo lacking skills?

The bad reputation could have played its hand in why Gelo is not playing in the NBA right now. Or, he lacked the skills or height required for the position he is playing in. LiAngelo can shoot from the outside, probably better than Lonzo was in his first few years in the league. 

Gelo played in Lithuania, and he remains to be a decent player. His skills could push him to play overseas if the NBA dream does not become a reality. It’s regrettable that the incident happened because the Ball brothers could have entered the history books as one of three brothers playing in the NBA simultaneously. 

At 22 years old, Ball still has time to prove himself. After the incident, he needs a chance, a team that would gamble on him to prove he learned and became a better player and person despite what happened in his past.

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