When Daryl Morey tweeted and then deleted support for protesters in Hong Kong and the NBA received criticism from the country of China, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets coincidentally soon arrived in Shanghai for an exhibition game.
LeBron James was leaned upon as a guiding voice on how to respond. James believed it didn't make sense for the players to speak to the nearly 200 reporters assembled in the hotel lobby when Morey and Adam Silver had yet to address the media.
"What he was most vocal about was," a source familiar with the meeting told ESPN, "'How can you ask us to do media when you yourselves are not?'"
Events and promotional appearances were canceled, as were team practices and media sessions.
"It was interesting," a team source said. "They were in a bubble. They started the season in a bubble, and they're going to end it in a bubble."