SHANGHAI (CBSLA) – With his son still under Chinese house arrest on allegations of shoplifting sunglasses, LaVar Ball Friday hosted a promotional event in Shanghai for his Big Baller Brand.
A smiling LaVar and his youngest son LaMelo posed for photos and signed autographs for fans at a BBB pop-up shop Friday. Lavar told reporters he wants to open similar pop-up shops in London, Paris and Dubai in 2018, according to ESPN’s Arash Markazi.
The Ball family is also in the midst of shooting a reality show.
This is all taking place while LaVar’s middle son, LiAngelo – brother of Los Angeles Lakers star Lonzo – and two of his UCLA teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, remained under house arrest Friday at their team hotel in Hangzhou. The three players were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel. They were released on bail Wednesday, but remain under house arrest at their hotel for an indefinite period.
LaVar and LaMelo visited LiAngelo Thursday before returning to Shanghai, Markazi said.
UCLA faces Georgia Tech 8:30 p.m. Pacific time Friday in Shanghai. The three freshmen will not be appearing in that game.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday that there is a strong likelihood the three players will face a sentence of 20 days of house arrest and then be banned from coming to China again.
The incident began when local police Tuesday were called to the hotel where both teams were staying in Hangzhou and inspected UCLA’s bus as players waited to depart for practice, AJC reports.
Police interviewed players from both teams before clearing three players from Georgia Tech, according to a statement released by the school. Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou, where they were kept for a number of hours before being charged.
William Nee, an expert on China for Amnesty International, said the players could be stuck in China for a long time.
“According to China’s entry and exit law, a case must be fully resolved, before the suspects are allowed to eventually go home,” Nee told CBS2 by Skype.
Nee said that could take anywhere from weeks to years. A shoplifting sentence in China can carry up to 10 years in prison.
LaVar had scheduled a press conference following the arrests, but later canceled it after being advised by legal counsel not to speak.
“He’ll be fine, everybody making it a big deal, it ain’t that big of a deal,” he told ESPN Wednesday.