A Lakers fan raised nearly $43,000 to support antigovernment protestors in Hong Kong by creating "Stand With Hong Kong" T-shirts to sell at the team's season opener on Oct. 22.
"China is trying to censor the Houston Rockets (update: and now the entire NBA) because of Hong Kong," the GoFundMe page said. "Wouldn’t it be hilarious if on opening night in Staples Center the NBA fanbase made a collective demonstration against censorship by wearing “STAND WITH Hong Kong” T-Shirts?"
Lared collected more than double that amount before donations were disabled.
The relationship between the NBA and China was disrupted after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet, which included a photo of protestors in Hong Kong with the caption, "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta denounced the tweet and said the Rockets were "not a political organization" and that Morey did not speak for the team.
A pair of NBA Cares events in Shanghai were cancelled as the fallout from Morey's tweet continued, and China's state-run TV network, CCTV, suspended its NBA programming due to the controversy. The Chinese basketball federation also canceled upcoming G League exhibition games between teams affiliated with the Rockets and Mavericks.
On Monday, LeBron James told reporters he believed Morey was "misinformed and not educated on the situation" when he tweeted in support of anti-government protestors in Hong Kong. James clarified in a tweet afterward that he does "not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that."
The Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers on opening day.