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Trump slams 'ungrateful fool' LaVar Ball in tweets

President Donald Trump escalated his feud with NBA personality LaVar Ball in a pair of tweets Wednesday, calling Ball an “ungrateful fool” and taking full credit for getting Ball’s son and two of his UCLA basketball teammates back to the U.S. after the trio was accused of shoplifting in China.

>> Read more trending news

“It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME,” the president wrote in a tweet posted around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. “Remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!”

Trump and Ball have engaged in a verbal back-and-forth since the president took credit for freeing Ball’s son, LiAngelo, and two of his teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, from a Chinese jail earlier this month. The trio was facing shoplifting charges and as many as 10 years in China’s prison system.

>> Related: WATCH: LaVar Ball fires back at Trump in heated CNN interview

LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill were released and allowed to return to the United States last week after Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf.

“The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. (The Chinese) do not play games.”

>> Related: Trump again lashes out at UCLA basketball dad LaVar Ball: 'Very ungrateful!'

LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill thanked their fellow teammates, school officials and the U.S. government, including Trump, for the work they did to bring them back to the U.S. LaVar Ball, however, said in an interview Monday with CNN that he wouldn’t thank Trump.

"Did he help the boys get out? I don't know,” LaVar Ball said. “If I was going to thank somebody I'd probably thank President Xi (Jinping). ... It wasn't like he was in the US and said, 'OK, there's three kids in China. I need to go over and get them.' That wasn't the thought process.”

>> Related: Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released

LaVar Ball told CNN that he felt if Trump helped to free his son, the president shouldn’t have felt like he needed recognition.

“If you helped you shouldn't have to say anything,” LaVar Ball said. “If I help somebody, I don't walk around saying, you know, ‘I helped you now, come on now, you give me some love, I helped you.’ Come on, for real?”

“Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.

Tennessee State football player arrested after video shows him punching coach, police say

A Tennessee State University football player who was kicked off the team and expelled after he was caught on video punching his assistant coach earlier this month has been arrested in connection with the attack, according to police.

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Jail records show Latrelle Lee, 22, was arrested Monday night. He was charged with one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and released on a $7,500 bond later Monday, according to The Tennessean.

Police told told WKRN that Lee hit a coach in the face multiple times during a game against Southeast Missouri State University at Hale Stadium. Video of the Nov. 11 incident appeared to show Lee punching Tigers strength coach T.J. Greenstone twice in the head and knocking him to the ground on the sideline.

"Once struck about the face by the defendant, the victim fell to the ground and was dazed and somewhat unconscious from the punches," officers said in an arrest affidavit obtained by The Tennessean. "The victim has subsequently been having medical difficulties as a result from the altercation."

>> Related: Tennessee State player expelled after punching coach on sideline

The attack happened as Greenstone was walking down the sideline to ensure players who weren’t on the field were far enough away to avoid a penalty, The Tennessean reported.

In a statement released to WKRN after the incident, Tennessee State athletics director Teresa Phillps condemned the attack.

“We are committed to supporting the coach who was personally affected and our concern is now with him,” she said.

Goodbye, Georgia Dome – thanks for the memories!

As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.

The Atlanta landmark was demolished at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The last event was held in the 25-year-old building in March, and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened next door in August.

>> Watch a video of the implosion here

>> Head to WSBTV.com for complete coverage of the implosion 

From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics, the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events

1996 Summer Olympics

The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.

On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.

The team – made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps – is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.

>> On WSBTV.com: Crews make last-minute preps for Georgia Dome implosion

On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.

The team – coached by Lenny Wilkens – defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.

Super Bowl XXVIII

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.

After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.

The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.

Super Bowl XXXIV

The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.

The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.

>> Read more trending news 

The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.

The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.

Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.

The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.

The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.

The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.

Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.

That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

2012 NFC Championship game

The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl. 

2017 NFC Championship game

In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome. 

NCAA Tournaments

Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game. 

State Championships

The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage. 

In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 

Soccer at the dome

Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome. 

In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.

Trump again lashes out at UCLA basketball dad LaVar Ball: 'Very ungrateful!'

President Donald Trump continued his Twitter roasting of UCLA basketball dad and Big Baller Brand mogul LaVar Ball on Sunday evening, calling him “very ungrateful” for not thanking him for getting his son out of trouble.

>> See the tweet here

“Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” Trump tweeted.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released

Earlier Sunday, Trump said “I should have left them in jail!,” referring to the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting, one of whom was Ball’s son, LiAngelo.

>> See the tweet here

“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!” Trump tweeted.

>> LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

This was Trump’s response to Ball essentially saying “Trump who?” when asked on Saturday about the president’s role in helping LiAngelo.

This all started when Trump tweeted after returning from Asia that the three UCLA basketball players who got in trouble for allegedly shoplifting in China should thank him for saving them from a decade in prison.

>> Read the tweet here

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted last Wednesday morning.

The players, for their part, did exactly that at an afternoon press conference the same day.

“To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” Trump said in reply.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were returned to the United States after being arrested on charges of shoplifting, in connection with the alleged theft of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in Shanghai. The university later announced that the players would be suspended indefinitely.

>> Read more trending news

Previously, Rare speculated that it was possible Trump wanted to hear a “thank you” not just from the basketball players, but also from the unapologetic LaVar Ball himself.

The president did not end up getting that thank you from the elder Ball.

“Who? What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” Ball said, according to ESPN.

>> On Rare.us: LaVar Ball on Trump helping his son: 'Who?'

“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes,’” Ball added, downplaying his son’s alleged mistake. “I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”

Oklahoma quarterback apologizes for obscene actions on sidelines

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said he was caught up in the heat of the moment. After a chippy football game against Kansas, the Heisman Trophy front-runner apologized for his “unacceptable” and “disrespectful” actions toward the Jayhawks during the No. 4 Sooners’ 41-3 victory Saturday, ESPN reported. 

>> Read more trending news

During the game, Mayfield grabbed his crotch and yelled expletives toward the Kansas players. His actions were caught on camera and were criticized as “inappropiate” by broadcasters during the telecast.

“I got caught up in a competitive game, a chippy game, but what I did was unacceptable,” said Mayfield, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. “I apologize. It's disrespectful. It's not the example I want to set. It's not the legacy I want to leave at OU. I truly do apologize. Thinking about the kids that are watching this now, it's not something I want to do to the parents out there. I'm sorry.”

Mayfield also posted an apology on his Twitter account.

The tensions began before the kickoff, as Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. refused to shake hands with Mayfield before the coin toss. Mayfield scoffed and began clapping his hands as he walked back toward the Oklahoma bench.

Moments later he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr.

In the second quarter, Mayfield took a late hit to the head from Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense. Mayfield retaliated after throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews in the third quarter that gave the Sooners a 28-3 lead, grabbing his crotch and cursing at the Jayhawks, ESPN reported.

“You get caught up in the emotional stuff,” Mayfield said. “But when the coaches said something about it, that's when I realized I had really messed up. Cameras are always on me. You've got to be smart.”

Mayfield was also caught on camera turning around to a group of Kansas hecklers and apparently telling them, “You have one win! Stick to basketball,” ESPN reported.

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said there was “no excuse” for Mayfield's actions and said he would consider disciplinary action after reviewing film of the game, ESPN reported.

“It was a chippy game, and it was chippy from the second their guys decided they didn't want to shake our hands at the coin toss,” Riley said. “The chippiness started there. ... Baker is a competitive guy and let his emotions get the best of him. We can't have that, he can't do that.”

“Football is a competitive game for a reason,” Mayfield said. “There's a lot of emotion. On the field, there's a lot of trash talk that goes on. Today I just took it too far.”

Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released

LaVar Ball downplayed President Donald Trump’s role in having his son and two other UCLA basketball players released from custody after a shoplifting incident in China, ESPN reported.  In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Trump responded that he “should have left them in jail.”

>> Read more trending news/

“Who? What was (Trump) over there for? Don’t tell me nothing,” Ball told ESPN on Friday. “Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley had been detained in China for the past week on suspicion of shoplifting. The three players returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday and were indefinitely suspended by the team.

Trump, who returned from Asia late Tuesday, said he raised the question of releasing the players when he spoke with China’s president, Xi Jinping, during a trip to Beijing last week, ESPN reported.

LaVar Ball, Trump tweeted, “is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”

The players were questioned about allegedly stealing from three stores in Hangzhou, including sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel. They were released on bail on Nov. 8, ESPN reported.

"As long as my boy's back here, I'm fine," Ball told ESPN. "I'm happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I'm from L.A. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. 

“Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things and they get stuck on them too long. That's not me. I handle what's going on and then we go from there.”

NCAA champion South Carolina women decline White House invitation

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley said the only invitation that interests her is one to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

>> Read more trending news

That was one of the reasons why Staley declined an invitation from the White House to attend a ceremony Friday to honor college sports’ championship teams, ESPN reported.

“We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow's event, but we will not be able to attend,” Staley said in a statement. “As I've been saying since our practices for this season started, all of our focus is on the season ahead. The only invitation we are thinking about is to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.”

The White House did not provide a list of the teams attending, ESPN reported.

The Gamecocks won their first national championship in April. At the time, Staley said the team would go to the White House because “it's what it stands for. It's what national champions do.”

However, Staley told The Associated Press in September that the South Carolina squad had yet to receive an invitation.

“That in itself speaks volumes,” she said, adding that she was not sure the Gamecocks would accept an invitation after “some things transpired over the last few months,” ESPN reported.

President Donald Trump hosted the 2016 NCAA football champion Clemson Tigers at the White House in June. The University of North Carolina's 2017 national championship men's basketball team said earlier this year it could not agree on a date for a visit.

UCLA basketball players thank president for help after arrest in China

Three UCLA basketball players apologized on Wednesday and thanked authorities and President Donald Trump for the work done to get them home from China after they were accused of shoplifting.

>> Read more trending news

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were questioned and arrested by police after they were accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. If convicted, the trio would have faced 10-year sentences in China’s prison system.

Ball, Riley and Hill apologized to their team members, friends and family Wednesday at a news conference.

“I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the store from China. I didn’t exercise my best judgement, and I was wrong for that,” Ball said. “I also apologize to the people of China for causing them so much trouble. I’m a young man, however, that’s not an excuse for making a stupid decision.”

The trio also thanked their fellow teammates, school officials and the U.S. government for the work done to bring them back to the United States.

"To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf," Riley said. "We really appreciate you helping us out."

Trump on Wednesday morning asked his followers on Twitter whether they thought the trio would thank him for his intervention.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he wrote.

Ball, Riley and Hill were released and allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday after Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf.

“The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. (The Chinese) do not play games.”

UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford said on Wednesday that Ball, Riley and Hill will be “suspended indefinitely.”

"These are good young men who exercised an inexcusable lack of judgment," Alford said. “At some point, they may be permitted to join team workouts, practices and meetings, but that timeline has yet to be determined. They will have to earn their way back."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Tennessee State player expelled after punching coach on sideline

After punching his coach on the sideline, a Tennessee State University football player has been dismissed from the team and expelled from school, according to a report by the Tennessean.

>> Read more trending news

Senior defensive end Latrelle Lee hit the Tigers strength coach T.J. Greenstone twice in the head Saturday and then knocked him to the ground on the sideline.

The Tennessean reported Tennessee State athletics director Teresa Phillips said Lee was kicked off the team by head football coach Rod Reed.

The 22-year-old from Dothan, Alabama, was expelled from the college on Monday, according to the Tennessean.

Report: 3 UCLA basketball players to return to US after Chinese officials drop charges

The three UCLA basketball players previously detained by Chinese police on shoplifting allegations were being allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday, according to a report by The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were questioned and arrested by police after being accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. The three players were released on bond Wednesday and did not play in Friday’s game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China.

>> Related: LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

The report of the players’ release comes hours after President Donald Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the players’ case.

“They’re working on it right now... Hopefully everything is going to work out,” Trump told reporters on his tour of Asia, according to the Washington Post.

China Sports Insider reported Tuesday the charges of shoplifting were officially dropped for all three players.

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