NBA star LeBron James is so outraged over what he perceives as America’s lack of outrage regarding Russia’s detention of a WNBA star that he’s implied she ought to reconsider whether she should return to the United States if and when she’s freed.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has a message, if James isn’t a fan of the country that made the athlete one of the wealthiest men in the world: The door’s right over there. Your enablers in Beijing are waiting on the other side. Seeya!
In a Tuesday tweet after James’ controversial remarks regarding the detention of Brittney Griner, Huckabee wrote that LeBron — whom he referred to as “Mr. China made me rich!” — should look into relocating to China, a “country that enriches him by slave labor,” and one that James is notoriously loath to criticize.
(At The Western Journal, we’ve long noted the hypocrisy of James’ anti-American activism when compared with his silence regarding China’s flagrant violations of human rights. He’s hardly the only one in sports and entertainment far more willing to criticize the land of the free and the home of the brave than the country that gave the world the “social credit” score and brutal COVID lockdowns. We’ll keep pointing out the inherent paradox — and you can help us by subscribing.)
James’ initial statement, which came in a trailer for his talk show “The Shop,” appeared to criticize Americans for not having Griner’s “back.”
In February, just days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Griner — who has long been one of the biggest stars in women’s basketball — was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport and accused of trying to smuggle vape cartridges with hashish oil in them. Cannabis products are illegal in Russia.
It’s unclear how legitimate the charges are or whether Griner is being used as a high-profile pawn in negotiations between Washington and Moscow. However, she pleaded guilty on July 7 in a Moscow court, with her legal team saying Griner “decided to take full responsibility for her actions.”
Since the arrest, Griner has become a cause célèbre on the left — although not necessarily because of her detention, per se, but rather because of the ancillary issues it can be dubiously used to illustrate, everything from race relations to gender pay equality in sports.
In the trailer, released Tuesday, James said Griner could potentially feel abandoned by the United States.
“Over 110 days [in detention],” James said. “Now, how can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?’”
If that was James’ opinion, Huckabee wrote in a tweet, there was an option available to him.
“Maybe ‘Mr. China made me rich!’ Lebron ought to relocate to the country that enriches him by slave labor. If you hate America, you don’t have to stay,” he tweeted.
Maybe “Mr. China made me rich!” Lebron ought to relocate to the country that enriches him by slave labor. If you hate America, you don’t have to stay. LeBron James Says He’d Question Returning To America If He Were Brittney Griner https://t.co/FTkbJwSmxM via @TMZ
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 12, 2022
“If you hate America, you don’t have to stay.” Nine words that should be emblazoned on the jerseys, sneakers and cleats of every professional American athlete who feels compelled to disrespect the country on a regular basis.
LeBron — who was declared a “billionaire” by Forbes in June — is a major endorser of Nike, a company whose CEO openly admitted in 2021 that it doesn’t comment on human rights abuses in the communist giant because it’s “a very important market for us.”
But LeBron has gone a step further when it comes to comments on China. In 2019, after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made a statement in support of Hong Kong’s democracy protesters, James threw Morey under the bus, saying the Houston general manager wasn’t “educated on the situation at hand.”
Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA’s China controversy: “I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.” pic.twitter.com/KKrMNU0dKR
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 15, 2019
“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 you’re only thinking about yourself,” James said.
Right. And what he apparently meant was, there are ramifications for free speech when the speaker isn’t thinking about the welfare of LeBron James.
In April, ESPN reported that James was enraged at Morey’s comments because they could affect the Chinese box office of his film “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which was in production at the time. James fumed to fellow NBA players about it during a meeting in China, according to ESPN.
At least in this situation, James has tried to mitigate the damage.
My comments on “The Shop” regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country. I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 13, 2022
“My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” James wrote in a Twitter post.
“I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days!” he continued. “Long story short #BringHerHome.”
In other words, LeBron’s relocation to Shanghai is on hold indefinitely, I suppose.
He should still remember — it’s always an option.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.