LiAngelo Ball prepared a draft of a speech upon his arrival to the U.S. following an arrest in China for shoplifting, but when it made no mention of Trump, UCLA made sure to add that to his talking points.
In fact, in an appearance on 'The Breakfast Club' on New York radio station Power 105.1, Ball says he wouldn't have included the part about giving Trump thanks at all if not for UCLA's insistence.
"[UCLA] wanted to hear that, and [Trump] tweeted about it before my speech, so I had to add him in right before I gave it," LiAngelo said. "I wrote my original speech, and I had to put his part in there in the morning before I went.
"My school wanted to hear it, too. Before I went up there, it was like, 'you got to thank him.' So I just threw him in there real quick before I gave my speech."
It wasn't his own choice to add in a thanks to Trump, LiAngelo made clear.
"If they didn't tell me to do it (thank Trump), it wouldn't have been in there," he said.
Ball, who has since left UCLA, was arrested in China along with teammates Jalen Hill and Cody Riley after being caught shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store during a team trip to play Georgia Tech. He was indefinitely suspended for the incident and has since along with his younger brother, LaMelo.