Two men, both brash, both alpha males, both forever in search of a camera, both convinced that they’re incapable of losing a war of words. It’s easy to see how this escalates endlessly, with each refusing to give the other the parting shot. It’s impossible to see how it ends peacefully, or soon.

Basically it’s the North Korea standoff of loudmouth trolling. An all-out exchange of nuclear blowhardery seems inevitable.

In fact, I’d say a Don King putdown constitutes a mushroom cloud. Is this real life?

Trump’s pissed off because Ball refuses to give him credit for getting his son LiAngelo sprung after a shoplifting charge during the UCLA hoops team’s trip to China. Ball being Ball, he’s probably doing that deliberately, precisely because he knows Trump’s apt to whine about it, raising Ball’s national profile further. He’s already semi-notorious in sports media for being a shameless self-promoter (Trump’s Don King analogy isn’t wildly off) and a bit of a basketball version of a “tennis dad.” Now he’ll be known to the wider population and non-sports media as That Guy Trump Hates. That’s a lucrative niche, and Ball is eager to fill it:

“Did he help the boys get out? I don’t know. … If I was going to thank somebody I’d probably thank President Xi (Jinping),” Ball said Monday night when asked about his back-and-forth with the President by CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“It wasn’t like he was in the US and said, ‘OK, there’s three kids in China. I need to go over and get them.’ That wasn’t the thought process,” he told Cuomo…

“If you help, you shouldn’t have to say anything,” he said. “Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son and let’s just stay in our lane.”

If he really wants to get under Trump’s skin, he should say that Obama would have gotten the players released in half the time and had China throw in a few other American prisoners as well. To which Trump would reply by reminding the world of Obama’s sterling record on prisoner releases.

Here’s Ball doing his thing on CNN Monday night, the interview that probably inspired Trump’s tweets this morning. Which will end first, Ball denying Trump credit he’s rightly due for freeing the players or Trump tweeting like he’s a morning shock jock instead of the president?