The tweet that upended the NBA and jammed James (LeBron)

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American sports fans are now familiar with the "Stand with Hong Kong" logo because it appeared in the controversial tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey:

Shortly after he posted it, Daryl Morey was forced to take the tweet down because of the fierce condemnation it provoked from the Chinese communist government and the mild admonishment it evoked from the NBA leadership.  LeBron James swiftly put his size 15s into his mouth by rebuking Morey, and this caused a huge backlash against King James from American fans who sided with the Rockets GM in his support of the Hong Kong extradition bill protesters who are getting bloodied and beaten by the police and hired thugs.

I saw Morey's tweet almost as soon as he posted it.  The logo attracted me, but I didn't pay too much attention to it because I thought it was some sort of stylized ball.  Now that I have read about the logo's multi-layered symbolism on the "Stand with Hong Kong" Facebook page, Morey's tweet takes on new power.

【The logo that started it all】

After Daryl Morey reposted our logo in an effort to #StandWithHK and Hongkongers' ongoing fight for freedom and democracy, the Chinese state intimidated both him and the NBA into silence. But what does our logo actually mean?

Our logo consists of the Chinese character for “person/people (人)”, repeated five times and converging from around the globe on one place—Hong Kong. The number five represents the five key demands made by protesters in June 2019. The form of the logo resembles the shape of an opened umbrella, a well-known symbol of the democracy movement. It also brings to mind the bauhinia, a flower native to Hong Kong and its official symbol.

We created this logo to raise international awareness of the situation in Hong Kong. Hongkongers across the world stand united in our fight for freedom, building on a long history of protest and resistance.

We are not afraid of intimidation & censorship. Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.

Will you join us and #StandWithHK?

P.S. NBA, don’t you think our logo looks like a team huddle? This is part of the meaning of the design as well.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Ben Zimmer]


  1. yoandri dominguez said,

    October 17, 2019 @ 11:24 am

    cool. please let me comment. "ren" is great word and mighty and somehow in english and spanish and hebrew its NASAL too "man" "ombre" "adam"

  2. Christopher J. Henrich said,

    October 19, 2019 @ 7:14 pm

    To yoandri dominguez's comment I would like to add Yiddish:
    "mensch". Like much Yiddish slang it is multivalued, but one meaning is "a man who stands up for his principles [assumed to be good ones]".

    I regret that Mr. Morey was persuaded to stand down. I think the reaction of the Chinese government is symptomatic: they can't stand to be teased. Any twelve-year-old would sense this, and smell their fear.

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