By Michael Dominguez
With the NBA season starting this upcoming week, Lebron James will be entering his 18th season, second with the Los Angeles Lakers.
James has been in the news for other than his basketball talents.
James spoke on Houston Rockets owner Daryal Morey who tweeted his support in the Hong Kong protest, then deleted the tweet quickly after backlash from people.
James is now looked as a supporter of China’s way of rules and laws ,but he’s not.
James said “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,” in a pregame interview with reporters before a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers had played a preseason game the week before against the Brooklyn Nets and James nor the Lakers spoke on the issue while in China.
The Rockets were also in China playing their own preseason games. James Harden and Russell Westbrook were told not to speak on the issue after their owner had showed his support in those fighting for their rights.
China started taking down its ads about the games and they weren’t shown on television.
The NBA has a huge market in China, according to NBA data. Over 500 million fans watch the NBA and over 21 million fans watched game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
According to the Chinese Basketball Association, there are over 1.4 billion people, and over 300 million people play basketball. The NBA had also signed a $1.5 billion deal to keep showing games in China.
China is a big market for the NBA outside the United States.
James had made those comments to protect his image with Nike, but also from a business standpoint.
According to statista.com, James is a lifetime Nike athlete who earn $32 million annually.
Nike made over $6 billion in the Chinese Market.
James also makes a cut himself, according to his business partner Maverick Carter, the deal can reach over $1 billion with Nike.
James is not going to lose over a billion dollars over a tweet. He has his own brand to watch over and grow bigger than it already is.
The same goes for other mega stars such as Harden who has a $200 million deal with Adidas and has his shares. In an article in Bloomberg it states that Harden has the third best selling jersey in China behind Lebron James and Steph Curry.
Opposed to being the 8th best selling jersey in the U.S.
So for Lebron to be called out for supposedly agreeing with China, he’s not. He has a family to feed and bills to pay. He’s going to protect himself. The media needs to stop attacking Lebron and just enjoy him as a player.
Not everything he says will be agreed on and it will be debated all over television stations. Things were taken in out of proportion.
He is Lebron James a star with a voice and an influence on the youth, but he can only do so much.
He uses his freedom of speech for political reasons and his platform lets him use it.
let Lebron speak his mind and use his freedom of speech like any of us would without getting a bad reputiton.