Lakers News: LeBron James Uses Daryl Morey’s Tweet About China To Raise Caution
Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James on the bench
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

What was supposed to be a positive 2019 NBA preseason trip to China for the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets was instead a week marred by controversy in the aftermath of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sending out a since-deleted tweet to support Hong Kong protestors.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta sent out his own tweet to undermine Morey, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement that earned the league plenty of backlash. The Chinese government had sharp criticism of Silver, who later had more remarks during an appearance in Tokyo.

As community events for both teams were canceled, it fueled speculation the Lakers and Nets would never take the court in Shanghai or Shenzhen. The games ultimately were played but without any media availability.

“I think when we talk about the political side, I think it’s a very delicate situation, a very sensitive situation,” LeBron James said in his first public remarks since the Lakers’ trip to China.

“For me personally, if any of you guys know me or cover me, you guys know when I speak about something, it’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something that hits home for me, something I’m very passionate about.

“I felt like with this particular situation, it’s something not only was I not informed enough about, I just felt like it was something myself, my teammates or organization had enough information to even talk about at that point in time. And we still feel the same way.”

James then turned his attention to Morey, saying he did not want to engage in any sort of feud with the Rockets executive, while also calling into question his awareness of the delicate situation.

“I just think that when you’re misinformed or not educated about something, and I’m just talking about the tweet itself, you never know the ramifications that can happen,” James said. “That’s just my belief. I believe he was either misinformed or not really educated about the situation.

“And if he was, then so be it. I have no idea, but that’s just my belief. When you say things or do things, and you know the people that can be affected by it, the families and individuals and everyone that can be affected by it, sometimes things can be changed. And sometimes social media is not always the proper way to go about things as well.”

That was interpreted by some as James criticizing Morey for voicing his support of Hong Kong’s sovereignty, which the Lakers All-Star clarified in subsequent tweets.

As the Lakers were mired in a state of uncertainty, their focus remained on the court. “We were just hoping that the games would continue to go,” James said.

“So many different events had been canceled throughout our time over there, all we kept saying is, ‘We flew all these miles to come over to China. We would love to play the game of basketball in front of the fans.’

“That was our whole mindset to prepare ourselves mentally. Coach kept harping on, ‘Let’s prepare ourselves.’ We had practice the day before, let’s prepare ourselves as if we were playing. We were just hoping that the game wouldn’t get canceled, because we just wanted to play.”

Even with the controversy that erupted, James would not rule out future visits to China, citing the sport of basketball as being one that can unite.

He also commended Silver for his handling of a situation the commissioner did “not create,” and said it was much too early to determine if there would be ramifications — financial or otherwise — for the NBA.