Daily Show host Trevor Noah roasted NBA basketball star LeBron James over his defense of China’s communist regime, admitting he understands why people found his comments both “insensitive” and “misguided.”
LeBron James has faced a barrage of criticism over the past week for what many consider his defense of the communist Chinese regime, after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey publicly declared his support for the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.
“I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James said of Morey. “Daryl’s tweet put the players and the league in a challenging situation. That’s all I have to say on the topic.”
On top of widespread condemnation from Republican and some Democrat politicians, protesters in Hong Kong also filmed themselves burning the jersey of the 34-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star.
“Yes, LeBron James is taking a lot of heat for not standing up against China and their oppression, with people even burning his jersey in Hong Kong,” Noah began on Wednesday. “Which by the way, if the NBA kept statistics of most jerseys burned, I think LeBron would dominate that too.”
TONIGHT: People are burning LeBron’s jersey in Hong Kong. Luckily he’s used to it by now. pic.twitter.com/hBaclgIjKW
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 16, 2019
“Normally I would agree that NBA players shouldn’t have to know the intricacies of East Asia policy, but at the same time Dennis Rodman is basically the U.S. Ambassador to North Korea so I don’t know what the rules are anymore,” he continued.
Noah added that he understood why people were disgusted by LeBron’s comments, but pointed out that his motivation for refusing to criticize China’s abysmal human rights record may have been to ensure his own personal safety rather than protect his own financial interests.
“I also understand why people think LeBron’s comments were insensitive or misguided, but at the same time, I get where he’s coming from,” said Noah. “Because the Houston Rockets GM slammed China on Twitter while he was on his way to China, so LeBron was probably like ‘Hey man, start this beef after I leave. What’s wrong with you man?’
“Because I would do the same thing. If someone asked me about China’s policies, I’d say, ‘I think China has policies,” he added. “And they’re the policies that allow me to fly home!'”
On Wednesday on the same network, South Park slammed LeBron James, with Cartman echoing James’ pandering China comments word for word.