LeBron James could face one of his fiercest criticisms as Lakers prepare to play Celtics
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LeBron James could meet his fiercest critic on Friday night when the Los Angeles Lakers face the Boston Celtics in a regular season showdown.
Celtic center Enes Kanter has called on James and others in recent weeks for remaining silent on human rights violations committed by the Chinese government. Kanter accused them of pretending to care about social justice issues, calling them “sad & disgusting.”
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Kanter also spoke out against the Chinese government for the treatment of Uyghur Muslims and called for the freedom of Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Kanter won sneakers promoting his own geopolitical initiatives, although he averaged just 7.8 minutes per game – a steep drop from the 24.4 minutes he averaged last season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
James has been one of the most active voices in the social justice landscape over the past several years. The Lakers superstar founded the I Promise School and invested $ 20 million earlier this year to help rebuild the Akron, Ohio neighborhood he grew up in. He shared his thoughts on the murder of George Floyd, an Ohio teenager who was shot dead by a police officer in a knife incident and recently the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
But when it comes to geopolitical issues, James’ voice has visibly remained calm.
James was not quick to say anything when Daryl Morey, then general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted in 2019 “Fight For Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong”. The tweet led to a Chinese government crackdown on NBA games broadcast in the country.
“I’m not here to judge how the league handled the situation,” James first said in October 2019. “I just think when you’re misinformed or uneducated on something – and I’m only talking about the tweet itself – you never know the ramifications that can happen. We all see what this has done, not just for our league but for all of us in America, for the people. in China too. Sometimes you have to think about the things that tell you that it can harm not only yourself but the majority of people. I think this is just a great example of that. “
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He also added in a tweet: “My team and this league just had a tough week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. stopped and didn’t think about what would happen.It could have waited a week to send it.
James has been criticized by protesters in Kanter and Hong Kong who fought against a security law.
Kanter also criticized James for not being more of a public advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine. James said days before the start of the season that everyone “has their own choice of doing what they think is right for themselves and their family” with regard to the vaccine.
“When I heard it, I was very disappointed, and it’s ridiculous,” Kanter said. CNN. “Obviously, LeBron James, he’s one of the faces in the league, and he should be the first to come out and say, ‘Listen, everyone. I have the vaccine and I encourage everyone, my community, everyone, basketball fans, non-basketball fans and sports fans to just get the vaccine, so we can save other lives.
“When I heard this, I just couldn’t believe it. But I hope he can learn about this vaccination and inspire and encourage other people around him.”
It’s unclear whether James or Kanter will see the floor on Friday.
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James is struggling with an abdominal problem and may not make the trip with the team to Boston. ESPN reported that James “is making great progress.” The Lakers classified him as questionable for the game.
He did not comment on any of Kanter’s criticisms.
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