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LeBron in the crossfire: China-Zoff splits the NBA

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October 18, 2019 7:28 pm

LeBron in the crossfire: China-Zoff splits the NBA

LeBron James doesn’t want to talk anymore, at least not about China. Not about his remarks about the Twitter crisis, which cost him a lot of sympathy. In Hong Kong, the USA, in many parts of the world.

Not even a week before the start of the NBA season, the 34-year-old finally wants to concentrate fully on basketball again. It’s not easy. “As captain of this team, I intend to find out how we can win a championship,” said the superstar of the Los Angeles Lakers, over whom a thunderstorm had unloaded in recent days.

James was suddenly faced with a rather harsh accusation that his wallet was more important to him than freedom of expression. In Hong Kong, jerseys with his name were on fire.

James’ statements about the still heated Twitter crisis between the NBA and China had made waves. For many observers, they did not even fit into the image of the worldly superstar who fights racism. He rages against Donald Trump. He founded a school in his home country for the benefit of disadvantaged children and went on tour with the claim “More than an athlete.”

NBA boss focuses on freedom of speech

What happened? James had irritated General Manager Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets with critical words for his pro-Hong Kong tweet. “I think he was misinformed and unfamiliar with the situation when he spoke,” James had said after returning from a “difficult” PR tour of China with the Lakers.

The NBA had got into quite a dilemma after Morey’s support for the demonstrators in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Of course, the North American professional league wants to continue to use the economic power of the Middle Kingdom for its purposes. League boss Adam Silver also stressed that the right to free speech of players, employees, and officials must not be restricted.

Heavy accusations against LeBron

Despite his political vita, James decided against another sign for freedom of opinion. “There are negative consequences that can happen if you don’t think about others if you only think about yourself,” he said: “That’s why you have to be careful with what we tweet, say and do.”

Words that found approval in China. Among the protesters in Hong Kong and his home country less. The criticism was clear. James was chattering “communist propaganda,” wrote Nebraska’s Republican Senator Ben Sasse on Twitter. “Everyone is for the “thing” until the “thing” costs him $$$$$$ …,” wrote Australian Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors. James is one of the most important advertising figures in China for his outfitter (Nike).

But with all the criticism, it has to be mentioned that James is by no means the only one who is afraid of clear words. Former master coach Steve Kerr and exceptional player Stephen Curry also didn’t want to take a stand, Houston star James Harden even apologized for his general manager’s tweet.

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