LiAngelo Ball joins Thunder's G League team as practice player

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor

LaVar Ball is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of sending three kids to the NBA. Well, kind of.

LiAngelo Ball, the middle son best known for getting caught shoplifting while on the UCLA Bruins basketball team, has joined the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G League team as a practice member, a team official confirmed to the Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto on Sunday.

Ball, 21, is not officially part of the Oklahoma City Blue’s roster — teams are allowed to bring in players for practice — but he has been with the team since the G League Winter Showcase, which kicked off on Dec. 19.

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The connection to the Thunder is not necessarily surprising, as Ball divulged in an episode of his family’s reality show “Ball In The Family” in September that Oklahoma City was one of three teams interested in signing him for their Summer League roster.

Unlike his brothers, LiAngelo was never considered a highly touted brother. Lonzo, 22, starred at UCLA and was selected second overall in the 2017 draft, while Yahoo Sports projects 18-year-old LaMelo to go No. 2 in next June’s draft.

LiAngelo briefly enrolled at UCLA under scholarship, but his skill on the court has not matched up with Lonzo or LaMelo. LaMelo also previously committed to play for the Bruins until LiAngelo dropped out in December 2017.

Ball was infamously involved with a shoplifting incident in Hangzhou, China, days before the Bruins' regular-season opener and was suspended indefinitely. Ball did not face any punishment from the legal system but caused an international incident, with help from his dad.

Since then, Ball has bounced around various minor professional leagues. He briefly appeared in the Lithuanian Basketball League before being passed over in the 2018 NBA draft. More recently, he spent time in LaVar's short-lived Junior Basketball Association.

LiAngelo Ball joined the Oklahoma City Thunder's G League team as a practice member. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
LiAngelo Ball joined the Oklahoma City Thunder's G League team as a practice member. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

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