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LeBron James yells and walks off court as national anthem closes before NBA game, gets instant blowback

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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

LeBron James faced some criticism online after he yelled and walked off the court as the national anthem ended before his first game of the NBA season.

James has been plagued by disapproval and condemnation after he criticized the general manager of the Houston Rockets for siding with Hong Kong protesters against communist Chinese totalitarianism.

Critics found more ammunition to lob against him after a video appeared to show him acting disrespectfully during the singing of the national anthem before the Lakers-Clippers game.

Others pointed out that the singer was nearing the end of the national anthem when LeBron exclaimed "Let's go!" just ahead of the fans who cheer at the end of the song.

But many on social media accused him of doing it deliberately.

On Tuesday, retired NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal added fuel to the controversy when he came out in support of manager Daryl Morey and his comments against China.

"It was unfortunate for both parties, and then you got people speaking when they don't know what they're talking about. But Daryl Morey was right," O'Neal asserted.

"Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, 'That's not right.' And that's what he did," O'Neal concluded.

Protesters wore T-shirts at the game in support of demonstrations in Hong Kong and derided the NBA superstar over his comments.

James and the Lakers lost to the Clippers with a score of 112-102.

Here's the latest on the LeBron controversy:

LeBron James facing backlash over China comments www.youtube.com

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