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LaVar Ball and Donald Trump are squabbling about giving the President credit for bringing home three UCLA basketball players — including Ball's son LiAngelo — after the players were arrested for shoplifting in China.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The beef brings two of the biggest attention hounds, usually in separate spheres of the media universe, into the same news story. Ball, father of three talented basketball players, used some familiar tactics to become Trump's equivalent in sports media.

Why it matters: Donald Trump created the blueprint for building an avalanche of earned media momentum: be the loudest, most outrageous voice in the room. Generate buzz with confrontational statements, outsized self-promotion, and abundant charisma. With Ball, we saw that strategy executed to a tee in a different habitat of the media ecosystem, and we could see more copycats.

Say something outrageous, get coverage, rinse and repeat.

LaVar's oldest son Lonzo starred at UCLA for a season and was picked No. 2 overall in the NBA Draft by the Lakers. LaVar is confident in Lonzo's abilities.

LaVar parlayed the comments into TV spots for ESPN and Fox Sports One, where he continued to provoke reactions and garner even more media buzz. By Spring of 2017, ESPN.com had more than 75 pieces of digital content with LaVar Ball in the headline.

Supreme self-regard

Ball: "Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one" (Ball played one college season and averaged 2 points per game)

Trump: "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me."

Hostile takeover

Ball: ...of the Chino Hills High School basketball program, where LaVar's two younger sons LiAngelo (18) and LaMelo (16) played last season. LaVar undermined coach Chris Gilling during games by yelling instructions to counter Gilling's strategies. He also refused to leave the team locker room when asked, criticized Gilling incessantly, and Gilling got canned at season's end.

Trump:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
Bold guarantees

Ball: UCLA will win the National Championship. (They lost in the Sweet 16)

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Trump:

  • "We're going to build the wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it."
  • "At the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote."
  • The GOP health care plan will cover pre-existing conditions.
Hawk the brand during press appearances

Ball: As leverage against major shoe companies like Nike and Under Armour, LaVar created Big Baller Brand. Lonzo has his own shoe — the $495 ZO2s — before even joining a professional team.

Trump: Brandished a table of Trump-branded food and drink for a press conference last March.

Lynne Sladky / AP
Lean into fights with the big dogs

Ball: "If Charles (Barkley) thought like me, maybe he'd win a championship." ... “I know he don't want to play one-on-one because he's too big. He'd better stay behind at TNT and eat them doughnuts."

Trump:

I know best

Ball: "I don't need no advice from Kobe Bryant."

Trump: "Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey."

Editor's Note: This story was first published in May. It was updated on November 20th to incorporate the Trump/Ball spat.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 7 mins ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.