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Lakers fan raises nearly $43k to hand out “Stand with Hong Kong” T-shirts

Source: GoFundMe

“Wouldn’t it be hilarious,” Sun Lared wrote on a GoFundMe page, “if on opening night in Staples Center, Lakers vs Clippers… the NBA fanbase made a collective demonstration for free expression by wearing ‘STAND WITH HONG KONG’ T-Shirts?”

Apparently, the Lakers fan isn’t the only one who thought making a statement of solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong is a good idea. His project raised $42,994 before halting new donations because of the overwhelming response.

The Hong Kong movement

Lared says he started the campaign after the NBA and Lakers star LeBron James appeared to bow to pressure from China. They, in turn, were responding after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted support for the anti-government protesters.

James and the Lakers are wildly popular in China. The Lakers star drew criticism after calling out Morey and his tweet, saying the Rockets manager was uneducated on the situation.

“So many people could have been harmed not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually,” James said in an interview.

James later attempted to clarify his stance on Twitter.

Sparking controversy

Backlash against James and the NBA evidently sparked Lared to start the GoFundMe page.

Lared spent a large majority of his post on GoFundMe detailing the politics of what is happening in Hong Kong and what those protesting are looking to accomplish.

He said that if they can get thousands of fans out and standing with protesters it would be both effective and “hilarious.”

“China thinks it can divide and conquer, minimize and diminish brave voices for change, and continue business as usual by isolating the Rockets,” he wrote.

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 American market for the NBA is still the most lucrative by far. What if the entire NBA community stood up for free expression, the right to dissent, and Hong Kong?

The bottom line, he says, is that they can send a powerful message if those who support free speech and expression everywhere stand together for Hong Kong.

In an update on his GoFundMe, Lared said that he placed an order for 13,000 shirts. He continues to post updates on his Twitter feed.