Demonstrators stamp on Lebron James jerseys during a rally at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong have thrown basketballs at a photo of LeBron James and chanted their anger about comments the Los Angeles Lakers star made about free speech during a rally in support of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, whose tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests touched off a firestorm of controversy in China. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

LeBron James no longer King James for Hong Kong protesters

October 15, 2019 - 6:53 am

HONG KONG (AP) — When the ball smashed into a photo of LeBron James' face stuck above the hoop and dropped into the basket, the Hong Kong protesters cheered.

His standing took a hit from basketball fans who gathered on courts amid Hong Kong's high-rise buildings Tuesday to vent their anger at the NBA's biggest star.

They chanted support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, a bit of a hero in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for tweeting support of their struggle against China. What the crowd of approximately 200 people chanted about James wasn't printable.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar trigged their anger with comments suggesting that free speech can have negative consequences. That touched a nerve among protesters in Hong Kong who have been engaged in an effort to defend their freedoms for months.