LeBron James' comments about Daryl Morey's support of the Hong Kong protests appear to have had unintended consequences.
Hours after James said that the Houston Rockets general manager was "misinformed" when he tweeted his support of the protests in Hong Kong earlier this month, those same protesters turned their attention to the 4-time MVP.
In images captured by the Associated Press on Tuesday, protesters in Hong Kong -- many of whom are wearing NBA jerseys -- can be seen holding signs denouncing James and even burning replica versions of his jersey.
Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, James spoke with reporters regarding his team's trip to Shanghai, where it played an exhibition vs. the Brooklyn Net last week. In doing so, the Akron native took issue with Morey's tweet expressing support for Hong Kong protesters, which resulted in highly publicized tension between the NBA and China during the league's preseason visit.
"We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech but at times there are ramifications for the negatives that can happen when you're not thinking about others and you're only thinking about yourself," James said. "I don't want to get in a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful when we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negatives that come with that too."
Although James later took to Twitter to clarify that he was referring to the ramifications of Morey's tweet and not intending to make a political statement, many took issue with the 3-time NBA champion's unwillingness to denounce the Communist Party of China. Meanwhile, others found it hypocritical for James to criticize someone else for doing so given his "More Than an Athlete" motto.
Nevertheless, despite James' attempt to clarify his comments, the backlash doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. That rings true both in the United State and overseas, as evidenced by the images captured in Hong Kong on Tuesday.