The NBA has been beating its chest about social justice.
But all of the virtue-signaling stops at America’s borders.
And the NBA bent the knee to communist China with one shocking move.
The NBA is heavily reliant on the Chinese market to be maximally profitable.
That’s why the league panicked when former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressed benign support for pro-freedom protesters in Hong Kong against a security law that would give Mainland China authority over the region.
Ultimately, the protests did not succeed, and the Chinese Communist Party usurped Hong Kong authorities.
But the tweet from Morey was considered a grave offense to the CCP, and China blacked out broadcasts of NBA games.
However, after three years of groveling behind the scenes to repair the relationship, the NBA is back on television in China.
“On the eve of the current NBA playoffs, the league’s games returned to state-run TV in China after a nearly three-year ban. It was a quiet return, with nary a word from New York or Beijing trumpeting the apparent end of a bitter conflict. NBA owners had remained largely silent throughout the ban, even as the league worked behind the scenes to repair a ruptured relationship that had cost hundreds of millions of dollars and laid bare the complexities of doing business with an authoritarian regime. The owners had reason to stay quiet: In addition to the money their teams derive from the NBA’s $5 billion business in China, many have significant personal stakes there through their other businesses.”
Turkish-born center Enes Kanter, who added the surname Freedom after becoming a United States citizen, had become a nuisance for the NBA because of his public criticism of China and its treatment of the Uyghur Muslims.
Freedom was essentially run out of the NBA for refusing to tamp down his criticisms.
With Kanter gone and Morey silenced, the NBA was able to get back in the good graces of the CCP and the Chinese market, which has been a cash cow for the league.
“ESPN examined the investments of 40 principal owners and found that they collectively have more than $10 billion tied up in China — including one owner whose company has a joint venture with an entity that has been sanctioned by the U.S. government. The owners’ myriad ties to the world’s second-largest economy leave their businesses vulnerable if they get on the wrong side of the Chinese government or the public there, according to the analysis.”
With $10 billion on the line, the NBA was always going to move heaven and earth to get back on China’s good side.
At the same time, the league has walked back its nonstop “woke” messaging.
The NBA’s propagation of virtue-signaling politics left the league open to criticisms of hypocrisy regarding its relationship with China.
It’s hard to talk about “systemic racism” when Uyghurs are being put on trains to veritable concentration camps.