LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — LeBron James has dribbled into the standoff between the NBA and China, calling the comments from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey "not educated" before Monday night's preseason game against Golden State Warriors.
Talking to reporters before the game, the Los Angeles Lakers star addressed the controversy, which started with a tweet from Morey in support of Democratic protesters in Hong Kong, just days before the Lakers were scheduled to play preseason games in China. The tweet drew enormous backlash in China, which tore down NBA signs, canceled the players' media appearances and team events, and put the team's scheduled games at risk of being canceled.
But when Morey deleted his tweet, he then drew criticism from American lawmakers, who accused him of bowing to China and its economic power.
"You know, when you're misinformed, or you're not educated about something, and I'm just talking about the tweet itself, you never know the ramifications that can happen," James said. "We all see 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 a majority of people."
James' comments drew swift criticism, including from Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Rick Scott, R-Florida. Hawley urged James to visit Hong Kong to see the situation for himself, while Scott pointed out that protesters in Hong Kong are fighting for freedom and the autonomy they were promised.
The comments also drew furor from protesters, who held up photos of James' face in front of their own at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong during a rally in support of Morey just a day later.
James later tweeted a clarification on his comments, saying he didn't believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of Morey's tweet.
The Lakers happened to win the game against the Warriors, 104-98, but the win has been largely overshadowed by James' comments.
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