The NBA regular season has been underway for just one day, and there's already a controversy.
The action of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James during the national anthem prior to his team's matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night has some fans on Twitter fuming, and others saying he did nothing wrong.
Just before the song ended ahead of tipoff, James stepped out of line and walked away from his teammates while shouting a passionate, "Let's go!" towards the stands.
It's not uncommon for fans at sporting events to begin cheering prior to the completion of the anthem, but many took issue with James's action. Some saw the move as disrespectful to the anthem, while others took it as an opportunity to jab his recent comments on the league's broken relationship with China.
Others, however, were quick to come to James's defense.
Every high school in America replaces the “Brave” in home of the brave with their school’s mascot. They all disrespecting the anthem?
— John David Gallione (@JDGWrites) October 23, 2019
James had previously criticized Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey for tweeting his support of protests in Hong Kong, stating that he believed Morey was "not informed" enough to speak on the topic. Fans, especially those in Hong Kong, reacted negatively to James's criticism, taking to the streets to burn his jersey and bounce basketballs off images of his face.
Whatever the intent behind James's action was, it didn't help the Lakers much on Tuesday. They lost to their crosstown rivals, now led by Kawhi Leonard, by a score of 112-102.