LaVar Ball’s much-anticipated interview live on CNN with Chris Cuomo went about as well as you would expect a live interview with LaVar Ball to go. He talked in circles, avoided questions, tried to turn the segment into an interview of Cuomo and, in the end, hardly said anything of substance. The few times he did say something noteworthy were eclipsed by his overall bombast.
For instance, Ball repeatedly expressed skepticism about Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed role in freeing the three UCLA players from Chinese custody. He told Cuomo that he did thank people in China who he saw as having had a direct impact on the release of the players.
But illuminating moments like that were few and far between. Instead, we were subjected to childish displays like Cuomo fighting with Ball over whether he would say “thank you” to him before the end of the interview. Cuomo folded like a tent in the face of Ball’s schtick.
To be clear, there are no winners here. Cuomo appeared to be operating under the assumption that he knew things about the shoplifting case Ball didn’t, and repeatedly asked Ball why he hadn’t thanked Trump. And Ball continued to explain that his understanding of the matter was that Trump’s role was not as important as the president had made it seem. (“I say thank you when I see something,” he said.)
“Did he help the boys get out? I don’t know,” Ball said. “If I was going to thank somebody, I’d probably thank [Chinese] President Xi. … Somebody can make a suggestion and somebody can do something. You’ve got people that make suggestions and people that do things.”
Cuomo didn’t follow why the man whose son was actually involved in the case didn’t believe the version of events presented by a serial liar.
“I just don’t understand your skepticism about it,” Cuomo said.
“Why would you push back on the president?” he asked later.
This article originally appeared on SI.com.