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LeBron James says Daryl Morey was 'misinformed' in NBA-China controversy

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said he doesn't believe Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was properly educated when he tweeted about China.
Credit: AP
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James speaks during the NBA basketball team's media day in El Segundo, Calif., Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

For most of his NBA career, LeBron James has managed to avoid controversy.

It appears that drought has come to an end.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, the 4-time MVP opened up about the recent controversy surrounding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet about the Hong Kong protests. And in doing so, James declined to back Morey, stating that he believed the executive "wasn't informed" when he posted an image that read "Fight For Freedom Stand With Hong Kong" on Oct. 4.

"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."

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James later added of Morey: "I believe he was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation."

Although James later clarified he meant that Morey wasn't aware of the ramifications his tweet could have had for others, many on social media took issue with the Akron native's comments, viewing them as a decision to protect his own business interests rather than denouncing the Communist Party of China. It was seemingly the rare public misstep for James, who has built a reputation for his willingness to speak up on societal matters.

James' comments come just days after the Lakers played a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai following a week's worth of tension between the NBA and China regarding Morey's tweet. Although the controversy surrounding the story from a basketball standpoint appeared to be dying down, James' comments on Monday could bring it back to the forefront of the news cycle as the NBA prepares to open its 2019-20 season next week.