LeBron James slammed for walking off court during national anthem after screaming 'let's go' at NBA season-opener
James was seen leaving the court as the anthem played ahead of the Lakers' opener against the Clippers
LeBron James appeared to disrespect the national anthem as he walked across the court shouting at the crowd when the Star-Spangled Banner played during NBA's season-opener on Tuesday, October 22.
While the rest of his team stood still, James was seen leaving the court as the anthem played ahead of the Lakers' opener against the Clippers. The four-time MVP shouted "let's go!" while unzipping his sweat jacket and later taking a seat on the sidelines, Breitbart reports.
This comes just a week after James called Hong Kong protesters "uneducated" for protesting their opposition to China's tightening grip over the special administrative region.
Several observers ridiculed James for his support of China, which is notorious for its human rights abuses.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri slammed James for his remarks amid the league's ongoing controversy with China.
Meanwhile, fellow NBA star Enes Kanter also criticized James for going against Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.
Furthermore, several citizens in Hong Kong took to the streets after James' comments and burned his jerseys and merchandise in protest.
Meanwhile, several netizens demanded James show more respect to the national anthem, while some quipped he would have been more respectful of the Chinese anthem.
There were many among James' critics who wanted him to wait until the anthem concluded before starting to yell. Several others took it as a form of blatant disrespect toward the United States.
After his support for China drew the ire of several Americans, James decided not to talk about the issue any further. However, it later emerged he had demanded NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to discipline Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey for supporting the Hong Kong protests.
In the past, the NBA superstar has been supportive of Colin Kaepernick's take-a-knee protests in the NFL. However, he clarified in 2017 he would always stand for the national anthem.