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The NBA season kicks off in less than a week, but instead of talking about win total projections, sports media and sports fans have been consumed by the NBA’s relationship with China.

In the 1980s, Chinese state-run television network CCTV began televising NBA games via videotape. Today, the NBA has deals and partnerships estimated to be worth five billion dollars in China. Before Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent out a spur of the moment text, the NBA’s relationship with China was similar to most American businesses that have expanded to China. Disagreements were handled privately and publicly, no one spoke a disparaging word about the Chinese government. Daryl Morey violated that agreement when he decided to tweet: “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”

The tweet was deleted five minutes after and Morey followed up with this:

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.

The apology was too late. The Chinese Consulate released a statement denouncing Daryl Morey, and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) suspended their business relationship with the Houston Rockets, jeopardizing the weekend games of Lakers vs. Nets. When Daryl tweeted, the Lakers and Nets were already headed to China. Daryl and his team were on the way to Japan.

LeBron James, the most powerful player in the NBA, happens to play for the Lakers and also has endorsement dollars on the line in China. He is also NIke’s biggest endorser. LeBron and the Lakers completed their games and flew home immediately. Monday was the first time that LeBron would have had an opportunity to speak about his time in China, and that’s what he did.

He said, "I don't want to get into a [verbal] feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke." LeBron went on to clarify that he meant Daryl was uninformed about the consequences and ramifications of his tweet. Its true; Daryl said as much in his tweets.

Little did LeBron know that his comments would make him the target of immense criticism. From right wing pundits to liberal minded tweeters with a check mark, he received criticism from supporters and detractors. But no matter how disingenuous some of the criticism is, it's still valid. I think it's disappointing for someone who stands for so much to dance around direct questions and shift the focus to someone else. As someone who has traveled to China and gets money in China, he should probably have more to say about the protests in Hong Kong instead of Daryl Morey.

This isn’t the first time that LeBron has had an opportunity to truly say something controversial and decided that he wasn’t knowledgeable to speak.

When Tamir Rice was murdered in Cleveland, LeBron was asked about it:

"For me, I've always been a guy who's took pride in knowledge of every situation that I've ever spoke on … and to be honest, I haven't really been on top of this issue.," LeBron answered. "So it's hard for me to comment. I understand that any lives that [are] lost, what we want more than anything is prayer and the best for the family, for anyone. But for me to comment on the situation, I don't have enough knowledge about it."

The situation happened in a place that he called home. A place that he knows better than Brentwood and Miami combined. I was disappointed in LeBron’s response because I saw what he and the Miami Heat did for Trayvon Martin's family.

In the instance of Morey's tweets about China, LeBron chose to speak from the perspective of the leader of NBA players and not a leader in the world. According to Shams Charania, LeBron spoke up in a meeting with other players and Commissioner Adam Silver. The Commissioner thought it would be a good idea for the players to speak on the issue first because they are the faces of the league. LeBron’s stance was that the NBA should speak before sending the players out to face the music. To be fair, the players were put in an impossible position and all Morey had to do was send a couple of apology tweets. As the most decorated and most famous NBA player, LeBron used the microphones to speak to those that call themselves his superiors.

LeBron's season starts with his Lakers against the Clippers on October 22. This has been LeBron’s longest offseason, figuratively and literally, since his first season in the NBA. For the first time since 2012, he has something to prove on the court — and now he has something to prove off of it, too. A championship is the only thing that can validate his move to Los Angeles.

Off the court, the mishandling of this China situation could have been just one wrong step. Hopefully he actually educates himself on the things going on in China. I think we all should.