A Lakers fan took to the Reddit page for the team to start a campaign to support antigovernment protesters in Hong Kong by creating “Stand With Hong Kong” T-shirts to distribute at the season-opening game against the Clippers on Oct. 22.
Sun Lared’s goal was $20,000. The gofundme account has more than $40,000 in pledges and counting.
The gofundme account states, “China is trying to censor the Houston Rockets because of Hong Kong. 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?”
The T-shirt’s slogan is in part what Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted Friday after seeing the pro-democracy protests become more violent. “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” is the entire tweet, which has since been deleted.
The NBA was criticized for its initial response Sunday to the controversy, which said in part that it was “regrettable” that Morey’s tweet may have offended Chinese fans.
Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that he understood the tweet had upset “millions and millions of our fans” in China, a major revenue source for the league, but that the NBA would not apologize because Morey was exercising his freedom of expression.
Sun Lared’s gofundme page adds, “China thinks it can divide and conquer, minimize and diminish brave voices for change, and continue business as usual by isolating the Rockets. China wants to leverage their soft power and market access to convince American businesses to practice self-censorship. If it’s just China vs the Rockets, they may be right. But America, and the NBA, have power too.”
The organizer of the gofundme account admits distribution at Staples Center will be difficult.
“If you are in L.A. and want to help Oct. 22: Send me a DM via twitter (@Sun_DMoreyFan),” Sun Lared wrote. “We’re going to have a lot of T-Shirts to hand out so we’ll need a lot of volunteers to help with logistics!”