LeBron James has finally weighed in on the NBA’s controversy with China.

James, who is at the forefront of the athlete empowerment movement, said on Monday that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was not “educated” about the Hong Kong matter before speaking. James also noted there were financial, physical, emotional and spiritual consequences to Morey’s tweet.

When asked about “the political noise,” James said it “a very delicate situation, a very sensitive situation.” He continued: “With this particular situation it was something not only was I not informed enough about… I just felt like it was something that not only myself and my teammates or our organization had enough information to even talk about it at that point in time and we still feel the same way.”
Morey’s support of the Hong Kong protesters jilted the profitable relationship between the NBA and China. The NBA’s damage control began last week after Morey tweeted an image saying “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” The tweet was posted days before the Lakers were scheduled to play preseason games in China. The Chinese government was furious, stripping down NBA signs and canceling the players’ media appearances and team events.
James tried to clarify his comments last night on Twitter, writing: “I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance.”

The NBA has since been working to fix the relationship with a major market across the Pacific.

“They wanted to stand up for his freedom of expression, but they also wanted to make it clear that they had respect for China’s history and its government. Essentially, they didn’t want to anger a very important business partner,” Golliver said.

The NBA’s relationship with China goes back decades. It’s a huge source of revenue for the league, and it’s worth billions in merchandise sales, media rights, streaming and more. More people watch the NBA finals in China than in the United States.