NBA star LeBron James has long been sponsored by companies that manufacture products in China. According to a new report, he has now gotten something from the country that he did not bargain for.
On Tuesday, TMZ Sports reported James tested positive for COVID-19. He missed the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
LeBron James is out tonight against Sacramento due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 30, 2021
While The Athletic reporter Shams Charania stopped short of confirming a positive test for James, he did confirm James has entered the health and safety protocols. Per NBA rules, he will have to sit out for 10 days or until he receives two consecutive negative tests in a 24-hour span.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 1, 2021
In September, CBS Sports reported LeBron James was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He said he was “very skeptical” originally, but he decided to get the vaccine after doing research for himself.
“According to the researchers, Uighurs, a persecuted ethnic minority from China’s western Xinjiang region, have been funneled to work in factories in other provinces under conditions ‘that strongly suggest forced labour,'” Forbes said.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom, who recently earned United States citizenship, has repeatedly criticized James for his refusal to condemn the Chinese genocide of Uighurs.
“Money over Morals for the ‘King,'” Freedom wrote in a November tweet. “Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice.”
“They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
Money over Morals for the “King” 👑
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss 🇨🇳 says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ
— Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) November 18, 2021
Freedom also wore the shoes pictured in the tweet above, which showed LeBron James kneeling for Chinese President Xi Jinping, during the Celtics’ Nov. 19 game against the Lakers.
Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter wore sneakers tonight — while playing against the Lakers — with LeBron James bowing down while China’s dictator puts a crown on his head. pic.twitter.com/E1L4ZyPWrF
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 20, 2021
Instead of addressing his relationship with a company accused of using slave labor in China, James simply brushed off Freedom’s criticisms.
“If you know me, I don’t really give too many people my energy,” he said of Freedom, according to Deadline. “He’s definitely someone I wouldn’t give my energy to.”
Despite his refusal to condemn the repressive regime in China, James has been an outspoken proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Freedom has suggested Nike and James’ pro-BLM stances are hypocritical given their position on China.
“I feel like it’s definitely time for athletes to stand up for the things they believe in … not just in America … but all over the world,” Freedom told reporters Tuesday, according to ESPN.
After James reportedly tested positive for the COVID-19 virus that originated in China, many Twitter users pointed out the irony.
Looks like his comrades in China sent him an early Christmas gift
— John Sweeney (@jsweeney10) December 1, 2021
@KingJames how does that China love feel?
— dan e bradley (@danebradley6) December 1, 2021
I saw that LeBron James tested positive for COVID. That’s not surprising; after all, he wants everything China has to offer.
— Wes — Generally amused but unimpressed (@CrimsonTideWes) December 1, 2021
James has missed over half of the Lakers games this season, WKBN-TV reported. Tuesday marked his 12th missed game through just 23 contests so far in the 2021-22 season.
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