LeBron James’ Hong Kong Comments Spark Controversy, Fanning Flames With NBA, China, And Fans
Los Angeles Lakers all-star Lebron James fuels NBA tensions with China and fans over his opinion on Rockets GM Morley's support of Hong Kong protestors.
NBA perennial all-star player LeBron James was lambasted online after he responded when asked about the NBA’s handling of the Houston Rockets general manager’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters. Lebron’s public opinion on the matter further stoked rising tensions for the NBA with China and fans.
LeBron Comments on Hong Kong Tweet
The L.A. Lakers player is known for being one of the most outspoken athletes when it comes to social justice. And this time, he felt the blowback on expressing his communist China-sympathetic opinion.
LeBron James on if Daryl Morey should be reprimanded for his tweet pic.twitter.com/6hCE8vCyNn
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 15, 2019
“I’m not here to judge how the league handled the situation,” James said to a press gaggle on Monday night in Los Angeles. “I just think that, when you’re misinformed or you’re not educated about something – and I’m just talking about the tweet itself – you never know the ramifications that can happen.”
Well, those comments certainly call to mind the phrase, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
However, LeBron wasn’t finished. He goes on to basically say he’s cool with kowtowing to the communist Chinese government.
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“We all see what that did, not only did for our league but for all of us in America, for people in China as well. Sometimes you have to think through the things that you say that may cause harm not only for yourself but for the majority of people. I think that’s just a prime example of that.”
LeBron James probably should’ve considered the possible ramifications of glossing over China’s communist government’s human rights abuses before opening his mouth. Because it certainly didn’t work out for him.
LeBron Gets Ratio’d
“@KingJames — you’re parroting communist propaganda,” Nebraska Sen. — and sports fanatic — Ben Sasse tweeted at James. “China is running torture camps and you know it.” Finishing the tweet using the hashtag “Google Uyghurs” to suggest James read up.
— Senator Ben Sasse (@SenSasse) October 15, 2019
And it wasn’t just elected officials weighing in. Even high-power sports attorney Darren Heitner weighed in on the prudence of James’ comments. Listing off four points that LeBron should understand.
“1. Hong Kong is going through much more than a “difficult week.”’, he tweeted. “2. A tweet can empower others as well, which #LeBronJames should know by now. 3. What happened was exposing China’s power over U.S. biz interests. 4. “Could have waited” is weak. Not how leaders speak.”
1. Hong Kong is going through much more than a “difficult week.”
2. A tweet can empower others as well, which #LeBronJames should know by now.
3. What happened was exposing China’s power over U.S. biz interests.
4. “Could have waited” is weak. Not how leaders speak. pic.twitter.com/bqmTwrgjf6
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) October 15, 2019
And by Tuesday morning, major news sources were lined up with commentary on how wrong LeBron James is on the topic of Hong Kong. And also how transparent his allegiance to the almighty buck is more important than it is to his values.
Some went so far as to call it the “most disgraceful moment of [his] career.”
The reactions to LeBron’s comments kept flooding in, to the point he jumped on Twitter to complain about the firestorm he created when voicing his opinion on the NBA and China.
LeBron Gets Defensive
“My team and this league just went through a difficult week,” James posted on Twitter. “I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.”
My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
Oh, I’m sorry. Who made the objectionable comment in the first place?
As with the NBA, LeBron’s blinders-on approach to dealing with how the organization placates China deserves every ounce of criticism.