Disgusted by his public bow to the communist regime in China, pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong on Oct. 15 burned jerseys of NBA superstar LeBron James.
Responding to the furor over Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters, James said of Morey: “I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”
The protesters in Hong Kong on Oct. 15 chanted support for Morey and denounced James, according to ESPN.
“James was trying, you know, to take a side, on the China side, which is, like, ridiculous,” Hong Kong pro-democracy supporter Aaron Lee told ESPN. “He was being honest financially. Financial is money. Simple as that. LeBron James stands for money. Period.”
Critics say James only made matters worse when he attempted a so-called clarification on his comments on Morey.
“Let me clear up the confusion,” James tweeted. “I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that.”
He added in a second tweet: “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.”
One social media user, referencing the brutal crackdown by police on pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, wrote: “Imagine the ‘difficult weeks’ protestors in Hong Kong have gone through.”
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted: “Having just been in Hong Kong — on the streets & with the protestors — this kind of garbage is hard to take. LeBron, are YOU educated on “the situation”? Why don’t you go to Hong Kong? Why don’t you meet the people there risking their lives for their most basic liberties.”
James Lo, a Hong Kong web designer who runs a basketball fan page, said: “People are angry. Students, they come out like every weekend. They’ve got tear gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend. Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then he just comes up with something (like) that. We just can’t accept that.”
William Mok, another pro-democracy backer, said: “Please remember, all NBA players, what you said before: ‘Black lives matter.’ Hong Kong lives also matter.”
China, meanwhile, praised James. “He is the real hero of America,” said one user on the Twitter-like Weibo service, who called James “an NBA friend that we can welcome in China.” Thousands of similar statements from communists in support of James followed.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that James’ business interests in China “are enormous, thanks to his lifelong endorsement deal with Nike and his starring role in Warner Bros.’ Space Jam 2, which was likely green-lit with the huge China box office partly in mind, given the popularity of basketball in the country.”
The Hollywood Reporter added: “One of James’ tweets from 2018 quoting Martin Luther King Jr. went viral in Hong Kong on Tuesday in a stream of sarcastic retweets.”
The James tweet, quoting MLK, from Jan. 15, 2018: “-Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere- Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter- #ThankYouMLK50”
The re-tweets included:
“*offer not valid in Hong Kong”.
“Chinese money bring justice to you?”
“Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights, but LeBron James supports totalitarianism?”
“Apparently you were lying to your 43.7 million followers when you said this.”