With the NBA season kicking off on Tuesday night, the conversation was changing from whether players and front office executives should be able to speak out on sensitive matters to one surrounding wins and losses. Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, however, isn't quite finished making a statement. He made his thoughts on the matter perfectly clear by expressing support for Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey, as well as his pro-Hong Kong tweets.
"Daryl Morey was right," O'Neal said on Tuesday. "Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say 'that's not right' and that's what he did."
As it turns out, this statement was met with support from the crowd in attendance. Once he said that Morey was right, the flag of Hong Kong rose into view of the cameras.
Shaq on Daryl Morey/China "One of our best values here in America is free speech we're allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that's just how it goes. and if people don't understand that that's something they have to deal with. pic.twitter.com/vefcHSPlMD— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 22, 2019
Since the Houston Rockets' GM tweeted support of pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong, the NBA has been the center of constant debate. Some believe that commissioner Adam Silver and some of the players were bowing to China in an effort to preserve their financial gains, while others believe that it's not Morey's place to comment on these political matters.
The incident sparked countless reactions on both sides of the issue. China canceled multiple fan events featuring the Los Angeles Lakers while the state-run CCTV opted out of airing NBA games. LeBron James also responded by saying that Morey was "uneducated" on the situation surrounding the pro-democracy protests.
O'Neal, on the other hand, leaves no doubt about his feelings on the matter. He believes that it's every person's right to speak up about matters in the world. Although the NBA has given the appearance that it does not agree with one of the longtime players.
For example, there was a moment when during a timeout when the "dance cam" was used by a young fan to promote support of Hong Kong. The child drew attention with a Los Angeles Clippers shirt, but he quickly dropped it to reveal a "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong" shirt. The camera operator simply panned away in an attempt to find something else to focus on.
A kid tricked the Dance Cam into showing a 'Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong' shirt during a timeout at the NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers pic.twitter.com/KgfP0WAqbL— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) October 23, 2019
The NBA season has begun, but the conversation has not fully gone away from the protests in Hong Kong, as well as the league's response. This discussion should only continue to draw attention, especially with figures such as O'Neal weighing in.
Photo Credit: Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty