Charles Barkley staunchly defended NBA hall of famer, LeBron James, after he condemned Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for posting a pro-Hong Kong tweet that created an international incident.
Barkley is a retired professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1984 to 2000. Barkley was considered one of the best forwards in the game, playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets during his career.
Morey’s tweet on Oct. 4, which has since been removed, included an image with the words, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
This was in reference to the debate over civil rights and extradition laws involving China and Hong Kong, where violent anti-government, pro-democracy protests have been ongoing for months.
LeBron has been taking a ton of heat for saying Morey “wasn’t educated” on the China-Hong Kong topic before weighing in on the issue. Doing so prompted some social media users to accuse James of condoning censorship.
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“I thought everybody was really unfair to LeBron,” Barkley told TMZ Sports in an interview.
“Everybody does business in China. Every American company does business in China. Why should LeBron not be able to protect his financial interests?”
James holds a lifetime deal valued at $1 billion with sports retail giant Nike, which earned the brand more than $6 billion in revenue from China during its 2019 fiscal year.
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Jamarlin talks about the recent backlash against Lebron James for not speaking up for Joshua Wong and the violent Hong Kong protestors.
LeBron, who is seen by many as a warrior for free speech, democracy, and social justice, disappointed his fans after he criticized Morey instead of China.
Barkley remained steadfast in his defense of James, saying he felt the backlash to the Los Angeles Lakers star’s China comments was unfair.
He said LeBron should not be singled out while other American businesses are able to continue to operate and make money in China.
“LeBron is passionate about the things he wants to be passionate about. We don’t get to tell him what we want him to talk about.”