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Andre Iguodala defends LeBron James over China comments

Few have come to the defense of LeBron James amid the fallout from his polarizing comments about the situation between the NBA and China, but count Memphis Grizzlies swingman Andre Iguodala in the Los Angeles Lakers superstar’s camp.

James inserted himself into the drama — and embroiled himself in a controversy of his own — by criticizing Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for tweeting support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Iguodala focused his defense of James by highlighting the timing of Morey’s tweet, which came as NBA teams were in China at the time.

“What I got from Lebron’s interview was they had to go over there and play. And then their safety, think about that,” Iguodala said during an appearance on “Ebro in the Morning,” as transcribed by Clutch Points. Daryl Morey’s free to say what he said, but sometimes you have to think about the safety of the players. He could have waited a week.”

Iguodala, who added that James is “in a difficult situation” amid all the drama, went on to argue there is something of a double standard when it comes to the backlash to James’ remarks.

“They’re ready to attack LeBron for making a statement because they don’t like his statement, they feel like he should have took another stance,” Iguodala said, as transcribed by Complex. “But when he’s home and he makes a stance about … and it’s like, ‘No this is not your place to make that statement.’ That was just mind-blowing. That’s what bothered me the most.”

James’ comments ignited a firestorm, and elicited some pointed criticism from some within the NBA community. The fallout also spawned demonstrations in Hong Kong where protesters burned his jerseys and caused a cutscene from “NBA 2K20” featuring him to now come across as awkward. Most recently, James’ remarks inspired “South Park” to mock him in a recent episode.

In that light, Iguodala presumably hoped to avoid getting caught up in the ongoing controversy by being careful with his remarks. It is clear, though, that he nevertheless feeling compelled to support James.