In the days since the tweet sent by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey blew up the relationship between China and the NBA, the world has been waiting on one person to add his two cents to the discussion—the most ‘woke’ athlete of them all, LeBron James. But he let the controversy go on for days before finally speaking out before a preseason game on Monday.
As for what he had to say, well— it didn’t go over too well with the public. He’s now been labeled a hypocrite that cares as long as his bottom line is not affected.
So—What Did He Say?
In the past, James has commented on the importance and value of freedom everywhere.
— Kevin (@kbuzz_dol) October 15, 2019
But when faced with an opportunity to put his own words into practice, he failed miserably. Instead, he chose to take the coward’s way out and was critical of Morey for tweeting:
LeBron James on if Daryl Morey should be reprimanded for his tweet pic.twitter.com/6hCE8vCyNn
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 15, 2019
As could be expected, the reaction was fast and fierce on social media.
Twitter Blows Up on LeBron James
He effectively took all the criticism thrown at him and every other socially active NBA player and threw it at Morey. In the process, James proved that he is a hypocrite lacking the courage to stand up for what he believes in – when it is tough.
It’s one thing to do it from the safe confines of his lavish home. But to do it on an international stage and risk a financial windfall and a dip in his global popularity – that would have been courageous and admirable and would have given him an even bigger platform for change than he already has. But instead, he took the coward’s way out. As could be expected, Twitter let him have it:
So @KingJames has no problem using his platform to bash American law enforcement officers and our president but will stick up for communist China?
Mr. “King”, it is YOU who is misinformed. #LeBronShames
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) October 15, 2019
— Progressive_Negro (@ProgressveNegro) October 15, 2019
— Timeshare ✭ War Daddy (@WardaddyWYND) October 15, 2019
— theannoyedgrunt (@ds19856402) October 15, 2019
.@KingJames really missed his shot last night. We all need to stand with Hong Kong and speak out in favor of freedom — even when it may have financial costs. We are all Hong Kongers. #StandwithHongKong
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 15, 2019
LeBron James Responds – and Makes Things Worse
After seeing how much hate he was getting online, he took to Twitter to defend his words and do some damage control:
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. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
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
As could be expected, once again, the reaction was fast and fierce and had people calling him out for his hypocrisy. So, he and some other NBA players had a rough week hanging out in a five-star hotel in Shanghai? Did he turn on his television to see what kind of week the people in China and Hong Kong were having?
Probably not; it must be nice to be as wealthy and privileged as he is.
Too Many Clichés
Everyone under the sun has commented on and mostly blasted James for selling out Morey and putting more importance on money than basic human decency. Like they all said, it was a cowardly, hypocritical move on his part.
But being the smart guy that he is, surely James is going to learn from this. What could he learn? How about how ‘silence is golden?’ Or, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?’
The smart thing to do would have been to say ‘no comment’ until the controversy blows over. That would have been cowardly as well, but at least he couldn’t be called a greedy, hypocritical sellout. Now, James is going to have to take the hit to his popularity not because he stood up for what was right but because he chickened out.
No, the world does not expect James or the NBA to solve the issues that plague the people of China and Hong Kong. But if you are going to stand up and cry foul at any and every perceived injustice in the United States, you need to stick to your guns and stand up for people everywhere.
You know—like you said you would.
More hypocrisy from @KingJames: In August, James told Jon Stewart he'd keep speaking out on social issues even if its negatively affects his popularity, agrees w/ Stewart likening him to Muhammad Ali. pic.twitter.com/81XhUNiIWf
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 15, 2019
Don’t be a coward. Don’t call someone else uneducated when you clearly don’t know enough about the situation yourself. Don’t talk the talk unless you plan on walking it. Don’t talk about yourself in the same conversation as someone like Muhammad Ali and then do something that would make Ali ashamed.
— Shame 🙈 (@PNanfam) October 15, 2019
But if you are too busy trying to have your cake and eat it too, maybe you’re too ‘fat’ to set the right example and be the man you claim to be. Privilege like that must be nice.