UCLA basketball team returns to L.A., with three arrested players still in China

A basketball fan in Shanghai takes a photo with LaVar Ball, right, and LaMelo Ball, left, during a Big Baller Brand promotional event on Friday.
(AFP / Getty Images)

UCLA’s basketball team returned from Shanghai after its season-opening victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday without the three players ensnared in a legal imbroglio over the alleged theft of designer sunglasses.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley remained in a hotel in Hangzhou, China, along with a contingent of UCLA and Pac-12 Conference officials, according to a person close to the situation not authorized to comment publicly because of the sensitive nature of the information.

LaVar Ball, LiAngelo’s father, and other family members also stayed behind, according to ESPN, for the Tuesday opening of a Big Baller Brand pop-up shop in Hong Kong.


ESPN reported that a person with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said that there was surveillance video of the players shoplifting from three stores inside an upscale shopping center next to the hotel where the team was staying in Hangzhou.

The players are expected to remain in the hotel until their legal situation is resolved.

UCLA coach Steve Alford declined to address the situation after his team’s 63-60 triumph over Georgia Tech at the Baoshan Sports Center in Shanghai and a school representative declined to comment.