LeBron James continues to face flak for his comments on Free Hong Kong even after receiving AP’s Male Athlete of the Year award.
In October 2019, NBA teams were touring Asia for their preseason routine. When LeBron James and other teams were in China, Daryl Morey posted a pro-Hong Kong tweet. Morey was showing solidarity to the Free Hong Kong protests which had reached a crescendo at the time.
LeBron James had responded with the following comments, which seemed ill-advised even at the time:
“I don’t want to get into a [verbal] feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually.”
“So just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.”
Fans criticize AP for giving LeBron James year-end award
For his role in further Black Lives Matter and in the NBA boycott in the Orlando Bubble, James was awarded AP’s Male Athlete of the Year. There were a lot of hostile replies to the corresponding Twitter post:
He restored the Lakers to greatness, helped his hometown and even worked to get people to the polls. LeBron James is the winner of The Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year award for a record-tying fourth time. https://t.co/TWp15tIold
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 26, 2020
And when asked he refused to condemn China’s treatment of it’s people because he makes beaucoup bucks from them.
— SinoHawk Magoo (@MagooActual) December 26, 2020
He’s China owned and operated
— Amy Nicole (@Amynicole1005) December 26, 2020
HEY WAIT!!! Doesn’t this guy have Chinese citizenship?
— JimK (@JimK94910273) December 26, 2020
There is little doubt that James deserves criticism for his comments on the issue. However, this is an award given for events in this current year. And James has done enough to merit this award for using his platform in a great way.