Saturday, March 6, 2021

The NBA And The Chinese Diplomatic/Economic Fallout That Was Begging to Happen

*The problems inherent with the NBA’s globalization into China are very much like chickens coming home to roost, and we, for one, are a bit stunned nobody saw this coming, eventually. The Chinese love everything basketball. However, the mainland Chinese government is also authoritarian and known for brutally crushing all dissenters.  The NBA, on the other hand, is the most outspoken of all the American professional sports leagues.

As the Hong Kong protests drag on before the eyes of the world, the NBA has shot itself in the foot, repeatedly.

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey loaded the first round when he first spoke of his support for the protests in Hong Kong by tweeting Fight For Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong.”

That resulted in lost sponsorships and TV deals.  The NBA didn’t want no smoke from China and released this statement; “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.” But for its statement in China the tone was quite different, “Extremely disappointed in Morey’s inappropriate statement. No doubt he’s severely hurt the feelings of CN fans.”

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Daryl Morey
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

Joseph Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty, couldn’t keep his opinion to himself on the matter as he wrote an open letter describing why he believed the Chinese would be upset about Morey’s comment. Saying, in part; “the NBA has been “very progressive … in allowing constituents a platform.”

“The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities.

Supporting a separatist movement in Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for citizens in China.”

James Harden, one of the most popular basketball players in the world, piled on the apology train as well.

“We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there. For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love.”

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James Harden (getty)
JHouston Rockets’ James Harden

“We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization. We love you.”

The Houston Rockets are the most popular NBA team in China after Yao Ming’s short yet spectacular career there. Former NBA player Stephon Marbury has given himself a strong case for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame thanks to his stellar career in the Chinese Basketball Association. Of note is the fact that Stephon Marbury hasn’t spoken out on anything political in China.

The NBA has league offices in China. The Los Angeles Lakers and star LeBron James will play the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai and Shenzhen this week.

EurWebWriter
Ricardo A. Hazell began his career in journalism in 1996 as a Research Intern for the prestigious Editor & Publisher Co. His byline has appeared in The Root, Washington Post, Black Enterprise and he helped define culture within the African Diaspora as Senior Cultural Contributor at The Shadow League. Currently working on the semi-autobiographical novel "Remorse".

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