ESPN released an explosive story on Friday alleging that in 2019, NBA star LeBron James went into a rage about the then-Houston Rockets general manager’s tweet supporting ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
“Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” former GM Daryl Morey tweeted. I would show you the tweet here, but as you’ll see, the backlash was swift, and it’s been removed. Chinese basketball officials swiftly made their feelings clear:
“We want to express our indignation and strong condemnation,” said a statement posted on the Twitter-like Weibo platform. “We have already stopped our cooperation with the Houston Rockets and continue to urge them to give a clear answer on this matter.”
LeBron too was weighed in predictably
…at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you only think about yourself. I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke.
Morey felt pressured and had to give in to it. He even took his stand for freedom to be restored.
I didn’t intend for my tweet to be offensive to Rockets supporters and Chinese friends. This was just one perspective, one interpretation of a complicated event. I have had many chances since then to consider and hear other viewpoints.
It is hard to imagine if Morey had been tied to a chair with a bright lamp over his head, and an official from the NBA standing beside him as he dictated this statement.
A new claim has been made in the report: Joe Tsai (a Taiwanese billionaire Brooklyn Nets owner) wanted Morey to fire because of the tweet. It was denied by Tsai (and the NBA).
LeBron is the NBA’s most hated player, and this new report won’t win him any fans. It is a terrible look. One, he’s a prominent voice in social justice. What is the point of a prominent voice in social justice ignoring the genocide against the Ughyurs that has been taking place in China? The Communist dictatorship, the sweatshops
After the George Floyd summer, the NBA went full-on social justice, including for the first time allowing slogans like “I Can’t Breathe” on uniforms. You might be fired if you mention China.
NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom (formerly Enes Kanter) is not afraid to speak out, as RedState’s Jennifer Oliver O’Connell reported.
XI JINPING, the Chinese Communist Party
You have to learn a lesson from someone.
Never apologize for telling the truth.
You cannot buy me.
I will not be scared by you
I will not be silenced by you.
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) October 24, 2021
The Houston Rockets cut Enes Kanter freedom in February. Coincidence?
The question then is, why did LeBron go onto a rage about Daryl Morey’s tweet? Did it have to do with principle? A commitment to a better future, or some higher calling? Nope. The whole thing was about money.
According to the ESPN report, the rage was because LeBron’s “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which has since earned a sad 4.6 out of 10 stars on IMDB, was in production. It should be hugely popular in China, as he wanted. Morey’s tweet threatened that.
LeBron, the NBA and other NBA players are committed to social justice and respecting human rights. Except that they have to pay money.