After fans utterly dragged LeBron James for his seemingly pro-China/anti-Hong Kong democracy comments, we’ve EXCLUSIVELY learned that King James really wants this scandal to ‘go away.’
“LeBron [James] is looking to never mention anything about the Hong Kong situation again,” a source close to the NBA icon tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. LeBron, 34, caught some major flak after he called Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey “misinformed” for tweeting support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Fans tore into LeBron over his seemingly pro-China comments, and the insider tells HollywoodLife that LeBron will now do his best to “move on” from this drama.
“In upcoming interviews, if and when he’s asked about it, he’s going to have ‘no comment.’ He wants it to just go away,” the source tells HollywoodLife. “He will not be tweeting about it or allow it to continue to be a topic of discussion. [LeBron] wants his play on the court to be what people talk about, and he wants to base all his focus on getting the Lakers into the playoffs and to win a championship.” While LeBron felt that “what he said is what needs to be said,” the reaction to his comments “rattled him, but it’s something that he just has to ride out.”
King James, much like the rest of the NBA, found himself in the middle of an international crisis after Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey tweeted-and-deleted an image that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Since June, people in Hong Kong have protested against a proposed law allowing extradition to mainland China, according to Deadspin. The scope of protests has ballooned to include calls for universal suffrage and investigations into police abuse.
China, to put it bluntly, lost its mind over this one tweet. They pulled sponsorships and enforced a media boycott of the NBA, according to The New York Times. The NBA, which has been cultivating the Chinese market for decades, immediately began to do damage control, with both owners and players apologizing to China for this single tweet. LeBron, during a post-game press conference on Oct. 14, weighed in on the controversy.
“I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe that he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet, what we say, and we do,” he said to reporters. Fans, in turn, ripped into LeBron online. Many photoshopped his face on that of Chairman Mao. Some accused him of being hypocritical considering his own “shut up and dribble” controversy. Others accused him of prioritizing his (and the NBA’s) bottom line over the civil rights of the Hong Kong protesters.
Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA’s China controversy: “I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.” pic.twitter.com/KKrMNU0dKR
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) 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
“Let me clear up the confusion,” LeBron tweeted when the backlash got too loud for him to ignore. “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. … 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] has many financial opportunities in China that he must nurture,” the insider tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY, “and he wants to get back to a place where the NBA and himself are back in the good graces of everyone both in the US and abroad. It is going to be an uphill battle, but he believes in the 24-hour news culture we live in, that it will eventually go away. That is where his head is at right now. His focus is about removing himself from the scandal and moving onto other things entirely different from this major political issue.”