Report: LeBron James Refused to Let Lakers and Nets Players Speak to Media About China - Lakers Daily

Report: LeBron James Refused to Let Lakers and Nets Players Speak to Media About China

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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has been vocal about various issues throughout his career, but the situation between the NBA and China is another matter.

According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, James led a players-only meeting between the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets shortly after NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke with both teams.

Apparently, Silver wanted the players to support the league’s stance on freedom of expression in light of his statement regarding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s controversial tweet against China. But the commissioner wanted the players to address their support to the media, something that did not sit well with James.

“James understood many players were not in a position to attack the questions head on, and led the joint players-only meeting after their session with Silver where the same concepts were discussed among all 38 Lakers and Nets players on the trip to China,” wrote Charania.

“‘Why are we the ones to go through the risks of speaking out in China when the league should be the first to address the matter, with our voices to follow?’ said one source with knowledge of the meeting and the players’ thinking in regard to James’ message.

“They discussed making sure they felt safe and protected without thrusting themselves in unfair positions, sources said. Nets star guard Kyrie Irving and Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma joined James in speaking during the players-only meeting, sources said.”

James told the players that he believed that the league needed to “explain and articulate the situation first.” The Lakers star was concerned that since the NBA could not speak to the media, “it was unfair for solely players to bear that responsibility.”

Given that they were on foreign soil, it would have been quite difficult for the players to speak on a hot topic that involved politics. Eventually, as the players, coaches, league officials and team executives resumed discussions, everyone agreed that their safety was of utmost importance during the tense situation.