LeBron James, Steve Kerr stress need to be 'educated' on China issues
Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors complains to referee Josh Tivens about a foul called on his player Stephen Curry against the Houston Rockets during Game One of the second round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at the Oracle Arena on April 28, 2019 in Oakland, California.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP
LeBron James, Steve Kerr stress need to be 'educated' on China issues
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 15, 2019 - 8:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James in front of reporters on Tuesday opined that Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was "not educated" on the situation when he tweeted support for Hong Kong. 

“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,” James told reporters before the Lakers’ preseason game against Golden State in California.

“I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl,” he added. “But I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.”

Morey's tweet expressing support for Hong Kong's democratic struggle for independence from mainland China was met with backlash, as the league's Chinese partners were quick to cut ties with the NBA. 

The protests in Hong Kong originally started as a series of demonstrations bemoaning the now-shelved extradition bill. 

The Rockets GM's tweet prompted the NBA to go into damage control, having to answer many questions about their stand on free speech. Shortly after the tweet went viral, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was quick to assert that it was not the league's responsibility to police the views and opinons of its players and staff. 

"The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues," he said. "We simply could not operate that way."

Silver added, "We're not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression."

Rockets superstar James Harden apologized on behalf of his general manager on October 7, saying, “We love China. We love playing there. I know for both of us individually we go there once or twice a year."

"They show us the most support and love. So we appreciate them as a fan base and we love everything they’re about and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as an organization," Harden said. 

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also opted not to comment on the matter when asked by reporters, calling it "bizzare" and saying he would have wanted to be informed on it first before sounding off. Usually outspokenly liberal, the tactician instead refused to comment on the issue. 

US President Donald Trump slammed Kerr for this, calling his statement "weak and pathetic." 

James' statement comes as the latest in a long saga between the NBA and its fans and business interests in China. 

Former NBA commissioner David Stern inked a partnership agreement almost 30 years ago for Chinese television to broadcast NBA basketball games. Today, the league's 30 teams have been travelling to China for exhibition and preseason games for the past decade. 

“Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet,” James tweeted shortly after. 

“I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk [a]bout that.”

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