Politics

FLASHBACK: LeBron James: ‘I Have A Platform’ To Speak Out Against ‘Something That’s Unjust’

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David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke earlier in the year of how, as a global superstar and sports icon, he has “a voice” and “platform” that can be used to “lead” others and call out “injustice” in the world.

James cited himself as someone whom others can look to when “their voice isn’t powerful” in a July 20, 2019 interview with SportsCenter:

“I have a voice, I have a platform and I have so many kids … and not only kids but also adults and everyone who kind of look for guidance and look for someone to lead them at a time when their voice isn’t powerful,” he told the network. (RELATED: Tucker And Patel: NBA Takes A Stand Against Freedom)

”When you see something that’s unjust, or you see something that’s wrong or you see something that’s trying to divide us as a race or as a country, I feel like my voice can be heard and can speak volumes,” James continued.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Mercedes-Benz Arena on October 10, 2019 in Shanghai, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Oct. 10, 2019 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

When asked if he planned to participate in the 2020 elections, the basketball player responded, “I’m here.” (RELATED: NBA Apologizes To CNN Reporter After Silencing Her Question Regarding China)

James apparently sees little that is unjust or wrong in China’s current suppression of pro-Democracy forces in Hong Kong. Instead, he has warned that the NBA should not be supporting the demonstrators in the street because it could “financially” hurt the basketball league.

China heavily finances the NBA and James reportedly could earn as much as $1 billion in an endorsement deal with active wear giant Nike, which is also a target of Chinese investment.

James claimed Monday that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who indicated his support of the Hong Kong protestors, causing internal league divisions, was “not educated.”

PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second quarter of their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on October 18, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second quarter of their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on Oct. 18, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

“We all talk about this freedom of speech — yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and only thinking about yourself,” James said at a Monday news conference. “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.”

Rockets player James Harden reportedly apologized to China for Morey’s comments.

James described the outrage over his defense of China on Tuesday as “a difficult week” for the his team and the NBA.

“I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others.”

Enes Kanter, a center for the Boston Celtics, called out LeBron James for his comments. Kanter, who is Turkish, says he receives so many death threats for his vocal opposition to Turkey President Recep Erdogan that the FBI installed a panic button near his bed.

As a member of the New York Knicks, Kanter was supposed to play in London for a regular season matchup against the Washington Wizards. He ultimately chose not to travel abroad out of fears of punishment from Turkey. The nearly 7-foot tall athlete was reportedly detained for hours while traveling in Romania.

Erdogan and Turkish prosecutors already revoked Kanter’s passport, and the Turkish leader has issued multiple international warrants for his arrest.