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

Shoplifting is a relatively minor infraction in the United States, but not so in China. It could lead to a long prison sentence, according to multiple outlets — and that could be bad news for the three UCLA men’s basketball players reportedly accused of committing the crime Tuesday in Shanghai.

Bruins freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley could be sentenced to three to 10 years if convicted of “robbing public or private property using force, coercion or other methods,” according to Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel, citing the website for the Chinese mission to the United Nations.

The trio were detained Tuesday after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where UCLA is staying ahead of its season opener Friday against Georgia Tech. The most notable of the players is Ball, the younger brother of former UCLA star (and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie) Lonzo Ball and son of LaVar Ball.

>> Read more trending news 

LaVar Ball, who had planned a press conference but canceled it on the advice of his legal counsel, released the following statement:

"It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball Family, and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly," he said, per ESPN's Arash Markazi.

William Nee, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, told Wetzel that those detained for crimes in China could “be detained for more than a month without American-style bail before local prosecutors even decide whether to press charges.” Nee added that the United States consulate could intervene to try and negotiate a quicker resolution to the case.

Nee added that the charges could also be greatly reduced and thus warrant a much more lenient sentence.

Gordon Hayward diagnosed with ankle fracture in Celtics opener

The Boston Celtics opened the NBA season Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in his first game with the Celtics, small forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury.

>> Read more trending news

The broadcast noted Hayward suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle.

Hayward was cutting along the baseline when he jumped for an alley-oop and fell to the floor with his leg bent underneath him.

Warning: The video linked in the below tweet contains footage that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Hayward’s leg was stabilized and he was carted off the floor. LeBron James, Cavaliers players and Celtics teammates shook Hayward’s hand before he left the court.

Hayward, the former No. 9 overall selection, visited the Miami Heat, Celtics and Utah Jazz before making his free agency decision, eventually landing with Boston. He spent seven years with the Jazz.

Hayward, who is coming off an All-Star year for the Jazz and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs, shook up the power in the Eastern Conference by adding a legitimate second offensive weapon to a Celtics team lacking one in last year’s playoffs.

He averaged a career-best 21 points and five rebounds per game last season.

NBA great Connie Hawkins dies at 75

NBA Hall of Fame forward Connie Hawkins has died at the age of 75.

His family confirmed Hawkins died Friday evening, KPNX reported. 

>> Read more trending news

Hawkins, nicknamed "The Hawk," played for the Phoenix Suns from 1969-1973. He was a four-time NBA All-Star and his number was retired in the Suns' Ring of Honor, KPNX reported.

Hawkins was initially banned from the NBA after being associated with a college basketball gambling scandal, NBA.com reported. Hawkins' career included stints in the American Basketball Association, as a Harlem Globetrotter and a legend on  New York City playgrounds.

LeBron James again calls Trump a 'bum,' salutes NFL national anthem protests

Basketball star LeBron James doubled down on his criticism of President Donald Trump in a press conference with reporters in Cleveland on Monday after Trump criticized James’s friend and on-court rival, Stephen Curry.

>> Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James wrote in a weekend tweet.

>> See the tweet here

Given the chance to soften his statements, James, once again, called Trump a bum.

>> Watch the moment here

“He is a bum,” James told reporters during the Cleveland Cavaliers’s media day. “He doesn’t understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country. He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the president.”

>> Read more trending news

During his conversation Monday with reporters, James praised the NFL players who chose to silently protest before Sunday’s game. At one point, he chastised Trump by saying that he for “damn sure” didn’t run the country.

“The people run this country, not one individual, and damn sure not him,” James said.

>> Click here to watch

Kevin Durant tweet calls out former coach, teammates, prompting theories of fake account

Kevin Durant is probably the most active NBA superstar on Twitter, and he regularly interacts with fans (and haters) on social media. But it appears as if being an avid tweeter might have backfired on him.

>> On FanBuzz.com: Kevin Durant responds to former ESPN reporter after White House criticism on Twitter

Someone tweeted at Durant and asked him to give a legitimate reason for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder outside of winning a championship. Durant's official account responded, but many social media users believe that he intended to respond from another account to defend himself and not his own. His tweet called out his former teammates, organization and coach Billy Donovan.

>> Read more trending news

Fans theorized that Durant has multiple accounts, and he forgot to switch them before responding, which led to this encounter via @harrisonmc15:

>> Check it out here

“He didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan,” read Durant's tweets, which have since been deleted. “His roster wasn’t that good, it was just him and Russ.

“Imagine taking Russ off that team, see how bad they were. KD can’t win a championship with those cats.”

Other fans also weighed in

Read more here.

(h/t CBS Sports)

Sports teams poke fun at eclipse through social media

Several sports teams had some fun with Monday's solar eclipse, taking to social media to put their own spin on the celestial rarity. The Atlanta Hawks gleefully blocked out the Suns, who were only too happy to block them back. And there was a total eclipse of the Hart in Philadelphia.

>> Read more trending news

Let’s start in Atlanta, where the Hawks’ Twitter account noted that “in honor of the sun being blocked today, here are our best blocks against the @Suns over the past few years!”

The Suns were not about to have the Hawks throw any shade on them, so they responded in kind: 

The Philadelphia Eagles had some fun with the 1983 Bonnie Tyler song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” using defensive tackle Tyler Hart as their focal point: 

Was that Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo protecting his eyes during the eclipse? Only the Spartans know for sure.

There was plenty of creativity to go around in the sports world. Now, players have until 2024 to think of something new.

Charles Barkley offers brutally honest take on Confederate statue debate

Former basketball star Charles Barkley recently weighed in on an argument that has the entire nation riled up: the removal of Confederate statues.

>> Watch the interview here

“I’m not going to waste my time worrying about these Confederate statues. ... I’m going to keep doing great things, No. 1 in the black community because I’m black,” Barkley said in an interview with Rick Karle of WBRC.

>> Charlie Daniels compares Confederate statue removal to ISIS' actions

He continued: “I’m not going to waste my time worrying about a neo-Nazi who’s going to hate me no matter what.”

>> There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South

When asked if the best option is to leave the statues up and ignore them, Barkley answered, “I’ve always ignored them. I’m 54 years old; I’ve never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people, to be honest, they haven’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues.”

Barkley has weighed in before on the Confederate statue and flag debate. In 2004, he said he was on his way to a NASCAR race and turned around when he saw 10 Confederate flags.

>> Read more trending news

Barkley was a star player with the Philadelphia 76ers and then with the Phoenix Suns, where he earned the NBA Most Valuable Player award.

Report: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers in 2018

The idea of LeBron James departing Cleveland again is slowly resembling a possible reality.

>> Read more trending news

NBA reporter Chris Sheridan, who said James was returning to the Cavaliers two days before the announcement, reports James will wear a new uniform for the 2018-19 NBA season.

Kevin O’Connor and Bill Simmons of The Ringer first reported James’ interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers next summer as a free agent. Speculation has taken off since.

James referred to Los Angeles as “home” in a recent tweet, further tossing fuel on the fire. James’ business is based in Burbank.

The consensus best player in the NBA isn’t a stranger to using social media as a medium to convey his feelings. The firing of general manager David Griffin and Kyrie Irving trade request have made the Cavaliers organization look in disarray, correctly or not.

Owner Dan Gilbert and James have reportedly not seen eye-to-eye. Since Gilbert’s letter criticizing James for joining the Heat in 2010, despite James’ return, there’s been a lack of trust between the two, reportedly.

James delivered his promised title to Ohio, but perhaps that gives him an avenue to close out his career elsewhere. But there’s another NBA season to be played, and a lot can change in a year. 

Kevin Durant apologizes for critical comments about India

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant tweeted an apology Friday for saying that India is “20 years behind” and other comments critical of the country, Fox News reported.

>> Read more trending news

The comments stemmed from an interview Durant gave Thursday to the sports website the Atlantic, Durant recently visited India and was blunt about the culture shock he experienced.

It’s a country that’s 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience,” the website quotes Durant as saying. He added that residents of India were "just a bunch of underprivileged people there and they want to learn how to play basketball."

Durant also said he was disappointed with the conditions near India’s famed Taj Mahal monument, saying he was expecting “holy ground, super protected, very, very clean.” But instead, he saw “mud in the middle of the street.”

Durant also said that houses were unfinished but people were living in them. “No doors. No windows ... stray dogs and then, boom, Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world,” he said.

The reaction from India was swift. 

“Maybe you need to be educated on a place you deemed ‘rough’ and ‘20 years behind,’ wrote actress and writer Chhaya Nene, in an “open letter” published by the American Bazaar.

Durant posted a message on Twitter, saying he was “sorry that my comments about India were taken out of context.”

Durant said he intended no disrespect and intends to return to India to run more basketball camps for youth, Al Jazeera reported.

During his visit to India, Durant helped set a Guinness World Record for the world's largest basketball clinic, with more than 3,400 Indian youths taking part, according to a the Bleacher Report.

Beyoncé interested in buying share of Houston Rockets, report says

Singer-songwriter Beyoncé is interested in buying a stake in the Houston Rocketsaccording to a Bloomberg report.

>> Beyoncé’s wax figure restyled and ‘adjusted’ after criticism

The Houston native is mulling an investment in a franchise that owner Leslie Alexander announced last month that he was planning to sell. Alexander paid $85 million for the Rockets in 1993. Forbes valued the organization at $1.65 billion earlier this year.

>> Read more trending news

Beyoncé's representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more here.

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