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  • Sydney Watson

The NBA Answers to China - We Should Have Seen This Coming

Updated: Feb 18


Two years ago, Fox News host Laura Ingraham told NBA star LeBron James to give politics a rest and “shut up and dribble.”


Ingraham, perhaps like much of America, was not interested in the political opinions of someone who gets paid millions of dollars a year to “bounce a ball”. Can’t say as I disagree, Laura.


Unsurprisingly, woke America went into overdrive. After all, somewhere along the way, sports stars became the martyrs of social justice nobody asked for but we got anyway.

Two years later, little has changed. But instead of shutting up and dribbling, the NBA has subjected America to perhaps the country’s most bizarre Black Lives Matter demonstration. One where athletes risk nothing but appear to view themselves as Martin Luther King in sneakers.


Players sport anti-racist slogans on their jerseys. “Black lives matter” is painted all over the stadiums. Players who choose not to kneel for the flag are demonized, turning to half-baked apologies and excusing their love for the United States.


Everyone – from LeBron James to Clippers coach Doc Rivers – is sending a clear-cut message: racism and human rights abuses are indefensible.


Unless, of course, the country promoting that racism and those abuses is China.


Amongst the preaching and feigned activism, it is most interesting that the newly woke NBA players have little to say about the country that commits some of the most heinous human rights abuses the world over.


But why would they? Their rage only extends as far as the White House.


In October 2019, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a sapless tweet in support of the Hong Kong democracy protests. Without delay, NBA games were stricken from Chinese TV, its merchandise pulled off shelves. With millions of dollars on the line, NBA leaders quickly reneged on their support for Hong Kong, turning a blind eye to the Chinese Communist Party’s heavy-handed approach to the democracy demonstrations.


We must have missed LeBron James’s rage tweeting on that one.


But the brave citizens of Hong Kong aren’t the only ones in the cross hairs. China, with its authoritarian human rights abuses, has been hard at work. It has recently busied itself annexing Indian territory to expand its totalitarian empire. In June, Chinese soldiers bludgeoned 20 Indians to death as their military moved into northern Indian.


However, the Chinese Empire isn’t content invading only India. It’s presently building islands in the Philippines’ territorial waters; an action which the international court of justice recently ruled illegal. It’s also pressuring the peaceful Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to cede land, in addition to attempting to claim territory from Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia in the south China sea. In case that wasn’t enough, China has also threatened the nations of Japan and Taiwan with war over territory China wishes to control.


If nothing else, 2019 crystallized how unwilling the NBA is to stand up for anything – least of all legitimate racism.


But besides abandoning support for any of the Asian nations under China’s boot, the NBA is apparently fine with concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. Who would have thought?

For an organization so concerned about equal treatment, one would think they’d take a stand against the systematic extermination of the Uyghurs – a central Asian ethnic minority from West China.


While the Chinese Communist Party imprisons Uyghur men in concentration camps, the women are sterilized and their child are sold into slave labor. You guessed it – the same slave labor that has allegedly given NBA players those neat Nike kicks they’re paid millions of dollars to wear.


China has secured billion-dollar relationships with the NBA and its players, effectively circumventing any and all criticism the organization might have for the heinous racism and exploitation that goes on across the pond.


To our Martin Luther Kings in sneakers, black lives might matter, but clearly not Asian lives. Apparently, Uyghurs and Indians aren’t a ‘people of color’ who figure into the NBA’s racial calculus.


But slave labor and poorly made tennis shoes aside, this selective activism is yet to be exercised for Chinese athletes who train at NBA-established academies in China. Allegedly, students were abused and not provided schooling. A former employee compared the environment in one of the academies to “World War II Germany”.


That doesn’t sound awfully progressive at all.


The outrage of the NBA is performative at best. It is little more than a money-making racket designed to sell more slave-labor made products and merchandise, all on the back of legitimate suffering and racism in china.


If players like LeBron James genuinely cared about slavery, racism, human rights, then the first place he would look to address those issues is China instead of putting profit ahead of principles.


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