NBA star LeBron James ‘terrified’ to criticize ‘evil communist dictators in China’, says Ted Cruz
US Senator Ted Cruz has accused LeBron James of being "terrified" to criticize China because the multi-millionaire wants more money. Cruz also backed NBA star Enes Kanter after he called out James and president Joe Biden.
Boston Celtics center Kanter targeted Biden on social media over his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping and has worn a range of shoes with messages referring to accusations that James and Nike have been silent over the country's human rights record.
In a tweet on Thursday, Kanter, who has previously spoken out on issues relating to Tibet and Taiwan, claimed James put "money over morals" and is willing to "shut up and dribble when big boss China says so."
"Sad and disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice," he added, leading to a withering response from James when he was asked about the exchanges following the Celtics' 130-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
"If you know me, I don't really give too many people my energy," responded the four-time NBA MVP.
"He's definitely not someone I would give my energy to, trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself.
"I definitely won't comment too much on that, if any. That'll be where I lay that at. He's always had a word or two to say in my direction."
.@ClayTravis Serious Q: how much $$ is enough?@KingJames has made hundreds of millions of $$. But he still wants more, so much that he is TERRIFIED to say anything negative about the evil communist dictators in China.@EnesKanter is showing more courage than the entire @NBAhttps://t.co/modvjLAvru— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 21, 2021
Texas representative Cruz and political commentator and sports reporter Clay Travis were deeply unimpressed by James's words.
"LeBron is totally in China’s pocket," said Travis, sharing the footage of James speaking.
"Gets asked about human rights in China and attacks Enes Kanter for raising the issue."
Money over Morals for the “King” 👑 Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justiceThey really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss 🇨🇳 says soDid you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 18, 2021
"Serious question: how much money is enough?" Cruz asked Travis. "[James] has made hundreds of millions of dollars.
"But he still wants more – so much that he is terrified to say anything negative about the evil communist dictators in China. Enes Kanter is showing more courage than the entire NBA."
Veteran James claimed that Kanter had rejected the chance to speak to him in person.
President @JoeBiden & DictatorXi Jinping are scheduled to speak@POTUSStop playing games with bullies &do what you promised to the world!Prioritize Human Rights!Will @JoeBiden ask about Uyghur Genocide or assault on Tibetans & HK?Or will they pat each other on the back? pic.twitter.com/kKwVNmb9ce— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 14, 2021
"As a man, if you've got a history with someone, you really come up to them," he said. "He had his opportunity: I saw him in the hallway, he walked right by me."
Kanter appeared to be more focused on Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis player at the center of an escalating scandal amid fears that she 'vanished' from public view following allegations of sexual abuse against a former high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party.
"Move the [2022 Beijing Winter] Olympics for Peng Shuai’s sake," urged Kanter while promoting an article he penned on the issue for the Wall Street Journal.
"It's time for us to wake up and speak up. All the gold medals in the world aren’t worth selling your morals, values and your principles."