LeBron James’ Comments Spark Outrage

Mason Barish, Staff Writer

Thought by some to be the best basketball player to have ever played in the NBA, LeBron James is a world class athlete and one of the most popular celebrities around. He is one of the richest athletes, having partnerships with one of the largest companies in the world, Nike. Recently though, James has come under fire from fans and those who don’t follow basketball alike. Just 3 days ago, controversy began around the Houston Rockets’ general manager, Daryl Morey’s, tweets in support of Hong Kong protesters and the resulting fallout with China’s basketball program. After this event, James took to an interview and voiced that “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, when you only think about yourself.” Adding on to that, James states “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.” An example of this negative LeBron is referencing in this quote could be when he had racial slurs painted onto his home, which could be an influence on why he thinks the way he does about this situation.

Those in Hong Kong took immediate offense to these statements, claiming that LeBron James was focused on keeping his deal with Nike, who receives 50% of portfolio earnings from China, where many of their products are manufactured. James was also called out by claims of hypocrisy from his side, because he has tweeted publicly about Black Lives Matter and other political topics before. Protesters began burning LeBron James merchandise and Nike products in a show of defiance. It seems that the superstar player has avoided talking about it further after witnessing the backlash he received for his statements, and it may stay that way, as the NBA and other organizations are worried about fan criticism over relations to Hong Kong and China and the charged political climate surrounding both.