by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
NBA superstar LeBron James says Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was “misinformed” and “wasn’t educated on the situation at hand” when he tweeted in support of Hong Kong’s freedom demonstrations. Morey’s sin was sharing an image of a slogan that read, “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Even though the GM, regrettably, deleted his tweet, one strongly suspects his grasp of China— where the state is running “re-education” camps filled with Uyghurs—is considerably stronger than any of the NBA’s leading apologists.
Only last year, James, a purported champion of social justice, came out in support of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick with the vacuous platitude, “I stand with anyone who believes in change.” Anyone? Of course, LeBron’s stand, as with most acts of pretend celebrity bravery, resulted in hosannas being thrown at him by the press, and, more importantly, never costing him a penny. …
… I suppose it’s too much to expect NBA stars to back Hong Kong freedom fighters rather than agonize over rounding errors in their banking accounts. The NBA wants to make money in China. There’s nothing wrong with exporting capitalism. But if the NBA is going to start adopting and enforcing the illiberalism of the Chinese state to make money, it becomes a huge ethical problem.