In an episode of LeBron's HBO show "The Shop," the Los Angeles Lakers star discussed Griner being detained in Russia after authorities at a Moscow-area airport allegedly discovered hash oil in vape pens stored in her luggage. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, pleaded guilty to the charges and faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.
James asked, "Now, how can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, 'Do I even want to go back to America?'"
After blowback for seemingly anti-American sentiments, LeBron walked back his comments.
"My comments on 'The Shop' regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country," James wrote on Twitter. "I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days!"
Freedom ripped LeBron for walking back his comments.
"You call it a step back, we call this a walk back," Freedom wrote on Twitter. "You are free to leave buddy or you can even volunteer for an exchange for her."
"Some people literally have NO idea what is it like to live in a dictatorship," Freedom continued. "Keep taking your freedom for granted."
Freedom was hit with backlash for his pro-U.S. tweet he sent to James, and followed up with a clarification.
"Sad to see so many people bashing U.S. when they have no idea what’s happening on the other side of the world. I’m not saying the U.S is perfect but if you ever visit China, Turkey, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Qatar, Myanmar, Rwanda ... Then you will appreciate what you have here," Freedom said on Twitter.
This isn't the first time that Freedom and James have butted heads.
In October 2021, Freedom challenged LeBron and Nike to confront the Chinese Communist Party for its enslavement of Uyghur Muslims.
The following month, Freedom wore shoes with an image of LeBron bowing to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"I think if you know me you know I don't really give too many people my energy and he's definitely not someone I will give my energy to," James said in a post-game interview. "Trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. Definitely won't comment too much on that, if any. That will be where I lay that at."
"He's always kind of had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him," James added. "He had his opportunity tonight. I seen him in the hallway, he walked right by me.
Freedom – an 11-year NBA veteran – was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Houston Rockets last season. He was waived by the Rockets in February and has not played ever since. Freedom claims that the NBA is trying to silence him for being an outspoken critic of China.