Email Ken Stallings   A Tale of Two Men

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Here are two entirely different statements uttered by two entirely different men.  Two men with very similar professional careers, but with two vastly different personal experiences to draw upon to shape their values.

"I don't want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation, and he spoke.  And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet (Morey wrote).  I'm not discussing the substance.  Others can talk about that.  Nobody stopped and considered what would happen after Morey's tweet, and that he could have waited a week to send it."  -- Lebron James

The tweet that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey wrote, which he was forced by the NBA to remove, simply said:  "Fight For Freedom.  Stand With Hong Kong."  Further indicative of James' focus, is that it was written the week that NBA teams were playing exhibition games in China.  A week later, as James alluded, would have seen those cross national exhibition games end.

In response to these most recent comments by James, NBA center Enes Kanter had this to say in reply:

"Wow dude!  Haven't seen or talked to my family (in) 5 years.  (Turkey has) jailed my dad.  My siblings can't find jobs.  Revoked my passport.  International arrest warrant.  My family can't leave the country.  Got Death Threats every day.  Got attack, harassed.  Tried to kidnap me in Indonesia.  FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!  I have a prominent platform and I want to use it to promote respect for human rights, democracy, and personal freedom.  For me, this is bigger than basketball.  Being a champion of tens of thousands of voiceless people back in my home country carries a risk that includes death threats and arrest warrants." -- Enes Kanter

Again, two statements from two men with very similar professional careers, but vastly different values.  Kanter's poignant comments reflect the personal experiences of living life in a tyrannical country.  Lebron James knows nothing of this, despite his many prior claims of social injustice in which he has criticized American society.  Yet, when James finally has a legitimate human rights issue before him, where he can put integrity above personal profit, he cravenly bows to the Chinese Communist oligarchs and placates their hurt feelings, and abandons the people of Hong Kong.  It should not surprise anyone that the great majority of people living in Hong Kong are condemning James' self-serving statements, with many prominent voices correctly saying that James put his love of money above their quest to preserve their liberties.

American patriot Patrick Henry famous said, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"  The people of Hong Kong are not risking death to preserve their liberty because they do not value economic success.  Instead, they comprehend that without liberty, economic success is subject to the capricious whims of a powerful oligarchy, and the price in bondage paid for it makes it a cheap reward.  America is not a great country because it is wealthy.  America is a great country because here freedom rings!

It is tragic then that James also openly questioned the wisdom of Daryl Morey.  It is not Morey who is ignorant, it is Lebron James, and he is ignorant of a great many things.

Lebron James rails on a myriad of social topics, all from the comfort and safety of his American home and citizenship, confident that our Constitutional Republic will protect his right to speak, even if that speech reveals him to be a cowardly and greedy fool.  There is nothing whatsoever courageous about an American standing up to speak against his own country, government, or President.  A great number of very brave men paid the ultimate sacrifice to secure his blessing of liberty to say such things in peace and security.

It is amoral to stand in the security of one's own liberty, and undermine the liberties of others, especially when the motivation is clearly the pursuit of personal wealth.  Nike and the NBA, two organizations that pay Lebron James tens of millions of dollars a year, both have billions tied up with the Chinese government.  But, the millions of people in Hong Kong have their lives and liberties tied up, and moral people value those two gifts far more than they do money.

James' life is now forever associated with his cowardice, and his open love of his money above the liberties of others.  Enes Kanter provides a profile in courage that James cannot recognize, much less comprehend.  While they still breath free, millions in Hong Kong condemn James' stupidity.  If the Communists have their way, in a few years, the only people left alive in Hong Kong will call James wise.  One wonders if, having then witnessed the full extent of Chinese tyranny sending all others to their early graves, whether James will sober up and recognize how foolish he's been.

If not, it is up to us to comprehend the true lesson, and never let Lebron James forget the horrible price of his ignorance.

-- Ken Stallings

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