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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

CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact that the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.