Early on Monday evening, LeBron James spoke to reporters ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason matchup with the Golden State Warriors. During the media session, he offered his opinion on the simmering feud between the NBA and China, which was kicked off by a tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey earlier this month.
LeBron and the Lakers just recently returned from China after playing two preseason games there against the Brooklyn Nets. While the games went on as scheduled, some ancillary events were canceled, and there was no media availability. As such, this was the first time that reporters were able to ask him about what has transpired.
LeBron on why he doesn't want to discuss the situation going on between the league and China:
I think when we talk about the political side, I think it's a very delicate situation. A very sensitive situation. And I think for me personally, for any of you guys who know me or always cover me, you know that when I speak about something, I speak about something I'm very knowledgeable about. Something that hits home for me. Something I'm very passionate about, and I felt like with this particular situation it was something that not only was I not informed enough about, I just felt like it was something that not only myself of my teammates or the organization had enough information to talk about it at that point in time. And we still feel the same way."
LeBron on whether or not Daryl Morey should have been reprimanded for his tweet:
LeBron: "I think that's another situation that should stay behind closed doors. I think when we all sit back and learn from the situation that happened, understand that what you could tweet or could say... 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. 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 freedome of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too."
LeBron's further thoughts on Morey not being informed:
"That's just my belief. I don't know. That's my belief. That's all I can say. I believe he 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 that can be affected by it, and the families an 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 on how he believes the league handled the matter:
"I'm not sure. I'm not really here to judge how the league handled the situation. I just think that when you're misinformed, or you're not educated about something -- and I'm just talking about the tweet itself -- you never know what the ramifications that can happen. And we've all seen what that did. Not only for our league, but for all of us in America. For people in China as well. Sometimes you have to think through things that you say that may cause harm not only for yourself, but for the majority of people, and I think that's just a prime example of that."
LeBron then jumped to Twitter to clarify things.
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
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
The standoff between the NBA and China was started by Morey's tweet on Oct. 4. He sent out an image that read, simply, "Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." He faced immediate backlash, with Chinese fans swarming his Twitter account. It didn't take long for the issue to reach the upper echelons of the Chinese government.
In the ensuing days, Chinese state television CCTV issued a strong statement disagreeing with the league's stance on the matter, while Tencent, the NBA's official broadcast partner in China, announced plans to suspend all business relations with the Rockets, including no longer broadcasting their games.
Morey has since issued James Harden . The league has issued multiple statements, first saying they regretted that Morey's statement offended many Chinese fans, then later issuing a stronger statement of support for Morey and free speech after backlash from many in the United States.saying that he did not intend to offend anyone, while
For a more in-depth explanation of the situation involving China, and the potential ramifications for the league,.