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LeBron James, NBA stars rally to defense of suspended sportswriter Adrian Wojnarowski

Sen. Josh Hawley sarcastically mocks the basketball stars: "Now try #FreeHongKong."
Reporter Adrian Wojnarowski attends the 2019 NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on June 20, 2019.
Reporter Adrian Wojnarowski attends the 2019 NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on June 20, 2019.Nathaniel S. Butler / NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James and other NBA stars rallied to the defense of sportswriter Adrian Wojnarowski after the ESPN scribe was suspended for emailing an expletive to U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

Los Angeles Lakers star James tweeted "#FreeWOJ" with the emoji of bumping white and black fists on Sunday, in support of Wojnarowski.

Image: LeBron James
LeBron James during a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 10, 2019 in Shanghai, China.Lintao Zhang / Getty Images file

Other NBA standouts who are backing Wojnarowski include Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers, his teammate Patrick Beverley, Anthony Tolliver of the Memphis Grizzlies, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets, Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers and Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat.

In an emailed press release, Hawley had called out the NBA's relationship with China, specifically the totalitarian regime's crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong and abuse of Muslim Uighurs.

Wojnarowski responded to the press release, titled "Senator Hawley blasts NBA for Kowtowing to Beijing & Refusing to Support U.S. Military and Law Enforcement," by replying "F--k you" to Hawley's press office. The Missouri Republican then posted a picture of the correspondence.

Wojnarowski, with 4 million Twitter followers, is one of basketball's most influential journalists. His often-exclusive reports even have their own nickname — a "Woj Bomb," which is such a well-known piece of basketball slang, it's earned a spot in Urban Dictionary.

ESPN announced Friday that it had suspended Wojnarowski, calling his F-bomb to Hawley "completely unacceptable behavior."

Wojnarowski has apologized and called his email "disrespectful" and "regrettable."

After James came out publicly to back Wojnarowski, Hawley retweeted the Los Angeles Lakers star with his own pithy response: "Now try #FreeHongKong."