When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” on October 11, the NBA responded by referring to the tweet as “regrettable.” That didn’t sit well with Bay Area-based basketball fan Sun Lared (a pseudonym, according to LAist), who channeled his frustration into a campaign to convince Lakers Nation to wear T-shirts that quote Morey’s since-deleted tweet verbatim at the team’s season opener.
On the Lakers’ Reddit page, Lared discussed his plan to make the shirts and hand them out for free during the game October 22. To fund the protest, Lared launched a Gofundme with a goal of $20,000; the project raised nearly $43,000 before donations were disabled.
“China is trying to censor the Houston Rockets (update: and now the entire NBA) because of Hong Kong,” the Gofundme page says. “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if on opening night in Staples Center the NBA fanbase made a collective demonstration against censorship by wearing “STAND WITH Hong Kong” T-Shirts?”
The page describes the plot as “effective/hilarious,” and goes on to detail the political reasons for the protests in Hong Kong (in a nutshell, Hong Kong has made five demands of the Chinese government to protect the island territory’s rule of law). Ostensibly, the NBA disavowed Morey’s tweet to avoid alienating the league’s large Chinese fan base.
On Tuesday, LeBron James became embroiled in the China-NBA-Hong Kong flap, when he called out Morey for his tweet, saying, “Just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.”
This led to many Hong Kong protesters to trample and even burn LeBron jerseys.
Lared has continued to give fans and supporters updates on Twitter regarding the T-shirts; most recently he was looking for volunteers to help distribute the shirts since he reportedly isn’t planning on flying to L.A for the game. In fact, he’s a Golden State Warriors fan.
#HKShirtGiveaway test prints. Getting ready to hand these out at NBA opener in LA Oct 22! DM me if you want to help hand out T-Shirts with @Stand_with_HK/ https://t.co/eqamtj3aR5
Other people running #HKShirtGiveaways at other games/events – get in touch if you want the files! pic.twitter.com/34hC7Hqy7y
— Sun (@Sun_DMoreyFan) October 14, 2019
The Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night.
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