Lakers fan raises whopping $43k for printing 'Stand with Hong Kong' t-shirts to be distributed free at season opener
Disappointed with the league's response to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters, Lakers fan Sun Lared has come up with his own unique way to protest at the first game of the season
On October 11, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” After backlash from the Chinese government, the NBA responded by calling the tweet "regrettable."
Lakers fan Sun Lared did not appreciate the league's response, and so he began a campaign to convince fellow fans to sport T-shirts quoting Morey's tweet at the team's season opener, LA Magazine reports.
Taking to the Lakers' Reddit page, Lared announced his plan to make the shirts and distribute them for free during the October 22 game. In order to fund the venture, Lared launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000. However, the project went on to raise a whopping $43k before donations to the website were disabled.
“China is trying to censor the Houston Rockets (update: and now the entire NBA) because of Hong Kong,” the fundraising page reads. “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?”
Describing the plot as "effective" and "hilarious", the page also details the political reasons behind the protests staged in Hong Kong, especially since the specially administrated region listed five demands for the Chinese government to protect its rule of law.
But the NBA allegedly disavowed Morey's controversial tweet to prevent the league's sizeable Chinese fanbase from feeling alienated. NBA legend LeBron James also became embroiled in the debate on Tuesday, calling Morey out for his tweet.
“So 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," he said.
However, LeBron's tweet set off a series of violent protests in Hong Kong that saw several gathering on courts to trample on and even burn the small forward's jerseys. That said, Lared continued to update his fellow fans and supporters regarding the T-shirts, recently tweeting he was looking for volunteers to help distribute the shirts at the venue.
The Lakers are scheduled to face the Los Angeles Clippers on opening day.