LeBron James & Kyrie Irving Banner Removed From Shanghai Building

The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are set to play their preseason game in China. However, this may not happen because the Chinese removed the banner representing LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving.

The whole thing happened in the wake of the international incident caused by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

“Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” he wrote on Twitter. This was enough to trigger an avalanche of reactions.

James Harden apologized for this behavior, and he is one of the many players to issue an apology.

“We apologize. We love China,” Harden said while standing next to Houston Rockets teammate Russell Westbrook. “We love playing there. Both of us, we go there once or twice a year.”

“We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization,” the NBA wrote.

Morey offered an explanation for his behavior, but it won’t change the situation at all.

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is flying to Shanghai to repair the NBA’s relationship with China.

“The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues,” Silver said …  “We simply could not operate that way.”

Silver talk to the media on Tuesday to discuss China essentially blackballing the Houston Rockets after team Morey tweeted out support for protesters in Hong Kong.

“I recognize our initial statement left people angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the NBA stands for,” Silver said in a new statement. “Essentially, what I’ve said in that statement is the long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community. And in this case, Daryl Morey, as the general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees. What I also tried to suggest is I understand that there are consequences from that exercise of, in essence, his freedom of speech. We will have to live with those consequences.”

Silver says China refuses to air the Lakers vs. Nets preseason game set to go down in Shanghai on Thursday … but added that this event is actually an opportunity.

“My plan all along has been to travel to Shanghai tomorrow, and I plan to attend the Lakers-Nets game Thursday night. It’s my hope that when I’m in Shanghai, I can meet with the appropriate officials and discuss where we stand, and again, put those remarks from Darl Morey and my remarks in an appropriate context of a many-decades-long relationship and see if we can find mutual respect for each other’s political systems and beliefs. But I’m a realist as well, and I recognize that this issue may not die down so quickly.”

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