The Odd Couple: NBA & China

If you’ve been living underneath a rock you’ve completely missed what was an eventful week in the NBA. Ben Simmons finally shooting from beyond the arc, Shaq & Damian Lillard dropping diss tracks like it’s a sport. And oh yeah, the NBA being oddly silenced by a communist regime in China. Yup, it’s been that type of week in the NBA.

In all seriousness, the NBA v. China debacle created quite the firestorm through all forms of mass communication. The drama spawned over a now-deleted tweet by Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Morey voiced his support for Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous nation-state currently embroiled in protest against China.

Hong Kong vs China

For those who aren’t aware, the bad blood between the two entities stretches back to the 1800s when Hong Kong was ruled by the British. That is, until Britain sold Hong Kong back to the Chinese in 1997 under a special agreement called “One country, Two systems“. This allowed Hong Kong to be a part of China, but retain a high degree of autonomy, as well democratic freedom such as voting rights, freedom of speech, etc.

So to the common person, Morey’s tweet seems innocuous. Voicing support for a nation that’s protesting for their independence through social media is quite the norm, especially in America. But, because of the popularity that the Rockets hold in China, and market shares the country holds over the NBA, there was a concerted effort from league brass to sweep this under the rug. This started with Rocket’s owner Tilman Fertitta choosing to separate both himself and the team from the comments. Followed up by James Harden stating “we love China” while addressing the media scrum in Beijing. Capping it off with LeBron James going as far as to state that Morey wasn’t “educated” on the situation at hand before sending out that tweet.

LeBron James on if Daryl Morey should be reprimanded for his tweet pic.twitter.com/6hCE8vCyNn— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 15, 2019

Moving Forward

For as much as this league prides itself on being “woke”, it’s coming off as tone-deaf on this. Fans in America have attended games to voice their support for Hong Kong, only to be reprimanded for doing so. The NBA and its players must come to grips with the fact that they’re on the wrong side of history. There’s nothing to love about a country that’s egregiously violating human rights.

I’m sure the Uighur Muslims would love to hear how you’re so “educated” on the topic, LeBron.

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