After acquiring former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook this offseason, the Houston Rockets, in theory, could become a challenger to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference title in the 2019-20 NBA season. But James, still very much the face of the sport, had a thought on the Rockets organization Monday evening that was largely unrelated to on-court activities.
"I don't want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke," James said Monday. "So many people could have been harmed, not just financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what 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 negative that comes with that too."
"I just think that when you're misinformed or you're not educated about something, and I'm just talking about the tweet itself, you never know the ramifications that can happen. We all see what that did -- not only for our league but for all of us in America, for people in China as well."
Though Morey eventually apologized, he tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters in China earlier this month. From a business perspective, that didn't help the NBA, who happened to be preparing for events and preseason games in China and against Chinese teams in America at the time: James said that the business perspective is largely what he was speaking on:
What difference would a week have made? James' Lakers played a two-game preseason series with the Brooklyn Nets last week in China, with the first game taking place in Shanghai and the second in Shenzhen. Prior to those games, an NBA Cares charity event was cancelled. Both games were schedule to be broadcast on China Central Television, but the government-owned network ultimately pulled the broadcasts after Morey's tweet.
For as much as Morey has been lambasted for his tweet in the NBA world, the public, who doesn't have the same business interests as the NBA, hasn't responded nearly the same way. This includes bi-partisan support among prominent politicians with connections to Texas.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., says that the tweet made him proud. Two Democractic presidential candidates that have previously held office in Texas - former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former HUD secretary Julian Castro - also showed support for Morey's initial tweet.