NBA star Lebron James has criticized Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for tweeting in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
“We all talk about this freedom of speech, yes, we all do have freedom of speech,” James told reporters before his game Monday night. “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 believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand,” James continued. “So many people could have been harmed” by Morey’s comments.
Morey had tweeted on October 4, “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
James had previously appeared on ESPN’s Sports Center to discuss his political activism.
“When you see something that’s unjust, or you see something that’s wrong, or you see something that’s trying to divide us,” said James in the July 2018 interview, “I feel like my voice can be heard and can speak volumes.”
Morey removed his tweet and apologized to Chinese fans, but the Chinese Basketball Association had already moved to cut ties with the Rockets. Merchandise featuring the Rockets logo and in some cases general NBA products were removed from Nike and other sportswear stores in major Chinese cities after the incident.
James has a $1 billion lifetime endorsement deal with Nike.
China is the NBA’s largest market after the U.S. The Lakers and Nets recently played two exhibition games in China, but they were cut from television viewing following the controversy.