- The Los Angeles Lakers star reignited the row after returning home and saying he thought Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was ‘uneducated’
- Protesters at the Southorn Playground were seen burning James’ jerseys during a rally on Tuesday night
If the NBA was hoping its crisis with the Chinese government was going to die down after two of its teams " the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers " returned home on Sunday from their preseason tour of mainland China, they will be deeply disappointed.
One Laker in particular has added fuel to the fire as superstar LeBron James has now commented on the situation multiple times. James spoke to American media on Monday before he was set to play the Golden State Warriors and said he didn't think Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was "educated on the situation".
Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong protesters more than a week ago, a tweet he quickly deleted, then apologised for. The NBA initially called the tweet "regrettable". However then commissioner Adam Silver backed Morey's right to freedom of expression in two separate statements.
This furthered angered the Chinese government, which shut down multiple events scheduled to take place in Shanghai for both the Nets and Lakers, and the NBA responded by shutting down all media availability to players, which included a game in Shenzhen on Saturday.
On Tuesday night in Hong Kong photographers captured a rally at the Southorn Playground in Wan Chai where protesters threw basketballs at a photo of James and also burned a number of his jerseys.
James commented on the situation again after a Lakers practice on Tuesday, when asked if he knew what was going on in Hong Kong and that they were burning his jersey.
I asked LeBron James on his response to the criticism on not speaking out on a freedom of speech/human rights issue. His response pic.twitter.com/3ub5hYsa22
" Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 15, 2019
"I did not see it, so I don't have a reaction to that."
James was asked multiple questions about the overall issue and delivered lengthy responses on many points.
"When the issue comes up and you feel passionate about it and you feel like it's something you want to talk about, then so be it," he said. "I also don't think every issue should be everybody's problem as well. When things come up, there's multiple things that we haven't talked about that have happened in our own country that we don't bring up."
He noted he has not kept up on the news concerning China and Hong Kong, something he had attacked Morey for in the first place.
"I haven't been paying attention to it much besides what I said and what we're trying to do here," James said.
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