Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James was reportedly "raged" in 2019 after then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted to social media his support for the people of Hong Kong protesting against China.
Morey shared a tweet in the fall of 2019 expressing support for Hong Kong demonstrators' fight for freedom from Chinese abuse.
"Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong," an image posted to Morey's Twitter account read.
The tweet would later be deleted and Morey, now general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, would post another tweet saying, "I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. ... 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."
Several current and former NBA players took issue with Morey's tweet, with James being the most notable one.
At the time, James claimed that Morey issued the social media post in ignorance and suggested that Americans could have been harmed as a result. NBA players were playing preseason games in China when Morey's tweet was posted.
"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," James told reporters. "And so many people could have been harmed. Not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually."
The NBA initially issued a statement calling Morey's comments "regrettable" and said he had "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China."
The league later backtracked and released another statement affirming the league's commitment to freedom of speech for its athletes, owners and other league personnel. But a day after the second statement, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), sent a letter urging the NBA to suspend activities in China.
James' movie, "Space Jam: A New Legacy," was in production during this controversy, and, according to an ESPN report published Thursday, the star athlete "raged" to other NBA players at the time about Morey's remarks during a meeting at a Ritz-Carlton in China.
In a recent statement to ESPN, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, "We have always supported and will continue to support every member of the NBA family, including Daryl Morey and Enes Freedom, expressing their personal views on social and political issues."
Freedom, an NBA free agent, has been engulfed in controversy of his own over public comments criticizing China for its human rights abuses.