Sportress of Blogitude

Kid’s trickery gets Hong Kong shirt showcased at Lakers-Clippers game

Critics of the NBA’s handling of its ongoing China controversy were out in full force Tuesday night outside Staples Center ahead of the opening-night showdown between the Clippers and Lakers.

Activists in Los Angeles used the highly anticipated, nationally televised matchup to shine a spotlight on their issues with the league by handing out 13,000 t-shirts that read “Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” before the game.

No authorization was granted to the activists, however, and arena staff and security could be seen closely monitoring the situation and issuing warnings.

With that in mind, the NBA presumably did not want to see any of these shirts being displayed inside Staples Center on opening night. Thanks to the trickery of one young fan, however, one shirt did receive some airtime.

While cameras panned fans in the crowd during a “Dance-Cam” routine, the youngster in question was spotlighted holding a Clippers shirt. Unbeknownst to the camera operator, he was holding a “Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” shirt as well, which he quickly displayed while the camera was still locked in on him.

The entire controversy and ensuing backlash originated when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued a tweet in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The NBA mismanaged the immediate handling of the situation, critics say, and the fallout from the crisis ensnared the likes of LeBron James, among others, though the argument could be made that the firestorm the Lakers star found himself in was of his own doing.

The league would like nothing more than for the opening of the regular season to quell some of the noise surrounding the China drama. Given the events at Staples Center on Tuesday night, it looks like the NBA will not be granted that wish.