This NBA/China situation has been a complete shitstorm. The shitstorm originated from Rocket’s GM, Daryl Morey, tweeting solidarity for the Hong Kong protesters. It was a tweet which essentially expressed support for freedom, including freedom of speech and expression. As we know, China, the communist government, doesn’t fuck around. And one of their sore spots, for many years, has derived from Hong Kong, especially since the Great Handover of 1997 when the United Kingdom ended its crumpets and tea colonization of Hong Kong and returned control of the territory to China. And ever since this handover, tensions between Hong Kong and China has consistently been high, with China viewing Hong Kong as returning to China and the authoritative Chinese government, while Hong Kong views itself as an independent nation, hoping to completely breakaway from the Chinese government. Since returning to Chinese rule, Hong Kong has more autonomy than the mainland, and its people essentially more rights. The arrangement is known as “one country, two systems”.
Fast Forward to present day, where Hong Kong protesters are upset over an extradition bill that was eventually withdrawn in September. The extradition bill which triggered the first protest was introduced in April. It would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances. Even the introduction of such bills did not sit well with Hong Kong citizens, as they viewed it as a gateway to China attempting to gain back full control over Hong Kong. So, clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent, with police firing live bullets and protesters attacking officers and throwing petrol bombs.
Daryl Morey, who we assume is fairly educated on the complex Hong Kong/China relationship, tweeted support for Hong Kong, while also being one of the leaders of an NBA franchise with EXTREMELY close ties to China (We can somewhat thank Yao Ming for that). Also, Morey (who deleted the tweet minutes later, btw) knew or should’ve known NBA players were playing exhibition games in China around the same time he sent the tweet. And this is where Lebron James comes in. Lebron, who proudly presents himself as “More Than an Athlete,” which he is, decided to briefly speak on the matter. Unfortunately, what Lebron was trying to say (I think) and what he said came out completely different. To be blunt, Lebron’s response to China, more specifically Morey’s actions, were all over the place and his comments almost came across as a communist sympathizer. So, here is an attempt to decode Lebron’s sentiments.
Lebron: “We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all 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.”
Lebron, decoded: “Listen, I love freedom of speech and expression. The shit is awesome. However, could you, Daryl Morey, wait to use your freedom of speech and expression from the safety of our country when I’m not in mf CHINA!? I mean, gawwwd damn. Did you forget there were players over there or some shit?”
Lebron: “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence 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 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, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”
Lebron, decoded: “Again, I like Daryl. I mean, good dude, ya know? But I also question how smart this MIT graduate really is because he HAD to have known my black ass was in China. Like, CHINA. Them mf’s don’t play, AT ALL. I’ve always told people that when we go to China, we get in, secure the bag and get tf out. So yes, again, freedom of speech is all good here, but over there, they have de-freedom of speech, and Daryl’s freedom of speech in the USA doesn’t protect my black ass when I’m in China.”
Lebron: “That’s just my belief. I don’t know. That’s my belief. That’s all I can say. I believe he (Morey) was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation. And, if he was, then so be it, but I have no idea. That’s just my belief that when you say things or do things and you know the people can be affected by it, and the families and the individuals and everyone that can be affected by it, sometimes things can be changed. And, also sometimes social media is not always the proper way to go about things as well. But, that’s just my belief.”
Lebron, decoded: “Morey is a brilliant guy, but he didn’t give af about me or my safety or how my family feels when he sent that tweet. He was misinformed that my black ass doesn’t give af about my safety because that is wrong. My black ass gives af about my safety in communist China very, very much.”