Earlier: You knew it was only a matter of time until LeBron James was asked to comment on the situation involving the NBA and China. His comments tonight have caused a bit of a stir.
Before tonight’s preseason game against the Golden State Warriors, James was asked about the tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey that ignited this whole controversy. Morey expressed support for protesters in Hong Kong, which led to a fallout between the league and the country of China.
Given James’ propensity for speaking out on social issues and various causes, him saying tonight he thought Morey “wasn’t educated” on the underlying issues in China has earned strong criticism.
Here’s a transcript of James’ answer, via For The Win:
“We all talk about freedom of speech — yes, we 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 believe — I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand. And he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially but emotionally, physically and spiritually.”So just be careful with what we tweet and what we say and what we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech. But the can be a lot of negative that comes from that speech.”
For a concise summary on the ongoing NBA/China issue, click here.
Here is LeBron on his belief that Daryl Morey "wasn't informed" on the situation in China, and his thoughts on the consequences that come with free speech pic.twitter.com/JOVRSDzCIg
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 15, 2019
Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA’s China controversy: “I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.” pic.twitter.com/KKrMNU0dKR
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 15, 2019
James did try to clarify his comments further, saying he was talking about Morey being ignorant of the possible ramifications of him speaking out.
Because of the fact the NBA was sending players to China this month, he could have potentially put players and coaches’ lives at risk.
LeBron James was referring to the ramifications of Daryl Morey’s tweet on China and the events it unleashed when the Lakers star said the Rockets GM was misinformed, a source told @TheUndefeated.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) October 15, 2019
Spoke to a source close to LeBron. Said he was not challenging the substance of Morey’s tweet but the ramifications, knowing teams were traveling to China to play there.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 15, 2019
Maybe that was the message James wanted to convey when he provided his thoughts tonight.
Still, he’s taking heat for these comments, considering it could be interpreted as him not fully supporting free speech, which would seem incongruous to his reputation as an outspoken public figure.
Expect this story to dominate the NBA headlines for the next day or to at least.
Update: LeBron has taken to Twitter to attempt to provide further context.
Let me 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. Others can talk About that.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
Quite a way for the NBA to end a Monday night one week before the season starts.