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Culture Beat / Oct. 17, 2019

LeBron Express His Own Ignorance on Hong Kong

The NBA star chastises Americans for voicing support for Hong Kong protesters.

In an era when professional sports figures are expected to lend their voices in support of or opposition to various social causes and issues, it’s understandable why many folks are now crying foul when some of these same athletes suddenly go silent when money is on the line. Following the Oct. 4 social-media post by Daryl Morey, general manager of the National Basketball Association team the Houston Rockets, in which he expressed solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and their “Fight for Freedom” against communist China, an incensed Beijing retaliated by threatening to end its lucrative relationship with the NBA. Morey subsequently deleted his message while several NBA players, coaches, and owners offered apologies to China.

Needless to say, the whole display was a black eye for the NBA, and served as yet another reminder why Americans in general are fed up with mixing sports with politics. But even more hypocritical is the fact that these American athletes who so readily criticize their own country in the name of “standing up” (or is it taking a knee?) for justice shy away from offering any criticism of a communist regime that has a long and murderous history of trampling human rights.

However, NBA star LeBron James elected to take it a step further when he decided to lecture Americans on being careful not to speak about things they don’t understand. Ironically, in so doing LeBron displayed his own ignorance. James bloviated, “We all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking 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.”

So, the people in Hong Kong protesting to prevent the communist regime in Beijing from running roughshod over their freedoms is a situation Americans don’t understand? Naw.

But now that we think about it, maybe James is correct. Does anyone really know how much money China is paying him, or how much money Beijing has invested in the NBA? Come to think of it, maybe China owns the NBA. James is certainly acting like it does.

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