LeBron Speaks Out on China, Takes Immediate Flak

Lakers star faces backlash as critics call him a hypocrite on Hong Kong post by Rockets' GM
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2019 7:21 AM CDT
LeBron Speaks Out on China, Takes Immediate Flak
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James sits on the bench during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The controversial tweet by the Houston Rockets GM has made its way to LeBron Land. In early October, Daryl Morey tweeted in support of pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong, angering China and hurling the NBA into the middle of a firestorm. Now LeBron James is weighing in, and he's not on Morey's side. "I don't want to get into a [verbal] feud with ... Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand," the Los Angeles Lakers forward said Monday, per ESPN, adding that Morey may also have been "misinformed." "So many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. ... Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too." James noted he's always "been welcomed with open arms" in China, and that social media "is not always the proper way to go about things."

Still, James himself took to social media later Monday to "clear up the confusion." "I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I'm not discussing the substance," he said in one tweet, adding: "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." Critics called him a hypocrite and accused him of valuing money over people's rights, including Dan Wolken in USA Today. "In the United States it's considered a good thing to exercise your freedom of expression in support of a just cause because you've done that yourself on numerous occasions," he writes. "Not supporting other Americans who exercise that same freedom because it might personally inconvenience you for a few days overseas, LeBron, is without question the most disgraceful moment of your career." (More LeBron James stories.)

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