LeBron James addresses ‘tough situation’ after China backlash

LeBron James addresses ‘tough situation’ after China backlash


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SportsPulse: LeBron James had some critical words for Daryl Morey when he addressed the media on Monday night, calling the Rockets GM ‘ misinformed’.
USA TODAY

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The Los Angeles Lakers’ star coined the catch phrase, “More than an Athlete” as part of his business portfolio. Yet, there are times even LeBron James believes he should shut up and dribble.

James faced immediate backlash after admonishing Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for saying he was “misinformed” for tweeting support for the Hong Kong protesters. James tried to clarify to reporters and on Twitter that he believed Morey was misinformed on the ramifications it would have during and after the NBA’s preseason trip there last week than the actual protest. Nonetheless, James did not share support for the Hong Kong protesters, or question China’s human-rights record.

Why not?

“When the issue comes up and you feel passionate about it and you feel like it’s something you want to talk about, then so be it,” James told reporters following practice Tuesday at the Lakers’ facility. “I also don’t think every issue should be everybody’s problem as well. When things come up, there’s multiple things that we haven’t talked about that have happened in our own country that we don’t bring up.”

As for the public backlash he faced after his initial comments and tweets Monday?

“I haven’t been paying attention to it much besides what I said and what we’re trying to do here,” James said.

The Lakers’ star has criticized Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric. He has spoken out in recent years when police officers have killed unarmed black men. In the past eight years, his family foundation has completed various projects to help the less fortunate in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. 

“I’m trying to make sure the inner-city kids that grow up in my hometown can have a brighter future and look at me as an inspiration to get out of the hellhole of the inner city,” James said. “We don’t talk about those stories enough. We want to talk about so many other things as well. There’s issues all over the world. So I think the best thing we can do is if you feel passionate about it, talk about it. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge about it or quite understand it, I don’t think you should talk about it because it puts you in a tough position.”

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James has already put himself in a tough position because of his stance. 

Shortly after speaking with reporters before Monday’s exhibition against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, James clarified his comments further in two separate Twitter posts because he believed his criticism of Morey was taken out of context. James also wrote that Morey “could have waited a week to send it.”

Perhaps then, the NBA would not have faced as much backlash from the Chinese government. Various charity or sponsorship events wouldn’t have been cancelled. NBA players wouldn’t have become vulnerable to any loss of Chinese endorsement deals.

“Hindsight is 20/20 at this point. We don’t know the landscape of the situation if a week would’ve went by and a tweet would’ve happened,” James said. “It’s easy to say. But we have no idea. It was a challenging trip for all of us that were in China. If you were not there, then you just can’t relate.”

Either way, the landscape still appeared t

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Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis on free agency: ‘I just want to focus on this year’

Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis on free agency: ‘I just want to focus on this year’


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SportsPulse: The NBA offseason was just wild. As training camps get underway Trysta Krick digests, debriefs and explains all the crazy moves made with a map. Take notes and get ready.
USA TODAY

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Even before he wore his Los Angeles Lakers uniform, Anthony Davis seemed comfortable.

LeBron James reiterated that the offense should run through Davis. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka allowed James and Davis to exert some influence in the team’s front-office decision making. Davis even spent part of his summer filming “Space Jam 2.”

So far, the Lakers seemingly have everything Davis would want. And why not? After all, his representatives publicly requested the New Orleans Pelicans to trade Davis leading into last season’s trade deadline. So there is no way Davis would want to leave the Lakers after he becomes a free agent next summer, right?

“I just want to focus on this year,” Davis said at the Lakers’ media day on Friday. “Coming here, the Lakers definitely welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like this was home. But at the same time, it’s about what we can do this year. We have a special team, special unit, special coaching staff and we’re going to do whatever we can to focus on this year and try to come out victorious.”

Safe to say that the Lakers’ NBA championship fortunes would factor in Davis’ decision. After all, Davis became increasingly frustrated during his seven-year stint with the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite landing six NBA All-Star appearances and three spots on the All-NBA first-team, the Pelicans reached the playoffs in only two of those seasons. Never did they advance past the second round. Hence, Davis’ reps demanded a trade after making it clear to the Pelicans’ front office he had no plans to sign an extension this summer.

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Beyond winning, the Lakers are trying to make Davis comfortable in other ways.

The biggest component involves Davis’ role itself. James reiterated that Lakers coach Frank Vogel needs to make Davis the primary focus in his system after averaging a 23.7 points on 51.7 percent shooting and 12.0 rebounds per game during his seven seasons with the Pelicans. James praised Davis for having a “beautiful young mind” that should not go to waste.

“If we are not playing through Anthony Davis while he is on the floor, there’s no sense to have him on the floor,” James said. “He’s that great. It doesn’t mean every time down, we throw it to him, we throw it to him, we throw it to him. But we have the ability of doing it.”

James’ words starkly contrast what Kobe Bryant said about Dwight Howard prior to the 2012-13 season. Just like the 34-year-old James wants to reduce his workload and transition the 26-year-old Davis into the Lakers’ next star, the 34-year-old Bryant had similar plans for the 27-year-old How

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