Editorial

Charles Barkley Says LeBron James Wasn’t Treated Fairly Over China Situation

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

Charles Barkley thinks LeBron James was railroaded over his comments on China and free speech.

The three-time NBA champion and Los Angeles Lakers forward drew some serious heat after he essentially threw free speech under the bus in wake of Daryl Morey supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the fall out with the communist dictatorship. While most reasonable people thought LeBron’s comments about China were insane, Barkley doesn’t blame him for looking out for his money.

Barkley told TMZ in a video posted Monday afternoon, “I thought everybody was really unfair to LeBron. Everybody does business in China. Everybody does business in China. Every American company does business in China. Why should LeBron not be able to protect his financial interests?”

He also added, “Every major American company does business in China and it’s not fair to act like LeBron’s gonna save the world.” Watch his full comments below. (SOURCE: ESPN Not Interested In Getting Involved In NBA/China Feud, Deadspin Memo Was ‘Misreported’)

First off, I really like Charles Barkley. He’s one of the best guys in all of sports, but I couldn’t disagree with him more on this one.

If LeBron James wanted to keep his mouth shut and stay out of the China situation entirely, then that’s one thing. I don’t think most people would have blamed him if he stayed silent to protect his immense wealth tied to the Chinese market.

However, that’s not what he did. LeBron chose to talk about the negative consequences of free speech, which might have been the worst angle possible to take.

 

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The moment LeBron opened his mouth and essentially ran cover for the Chinese dictatorship over our freedoms in America, then he opened himself up to all the criticism in the world.

If he didn’t want to get dragged for saying something stupid, then he should have just kept his mouth shut as he cashed his big checks.

Once you take a stand against free speech, you’re just asking to get torn to shreds. This is America. We like freedom.

 

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While Barkley might be one of the best guys in all of sports, he’s 100% wrong here.