The NBA lost millions due to strained relations with China, but… – OutKick

The NBA has been heavily criticized in the past few years for being in bed with China, but the league and the communist country may not have been quite as comfortable as you think.

After all, according to Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to what he described as a strained relationship with China.

Silver added that he accepts losses as the price of freedom of expression. Namely, from NBA players like Ines Freedom and former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, now a Philadelphia 76ers.

When Morey supported Hong Kong’s struggle for freedom in a tweet several years ago, the Chinese government refused to broadcast NBA matches on the state-run network.

Last season, all Celtics’ games were called off after Freedom denounced the NBA’s relationship with China, citing widespread human rights injustice in China.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league has taken a financial hit due to its strained relationship with China. (Getty Images)

“Every Fortune 500 company does business in China,” Silver told reporters before the first game of the Finals between the Celtics and the Golden State Warriors. “We have to look to the US government to see the direction.”

This is interesting, as Silver hasn’t really discussed the possibility of government interference in previous conversations on this topic. Mostly, Silver and the individual teams were silencing the injustices outside, while always talking loudly about them at home.

It would be fine if the league did not rely too heavily on China. It can be said that no sports league in history relied on money from China like the NBA.

A pro-Hong Kong activist holds a photo depicting LeBron James aboard a Chinese tank in Tiananmen Square prior to the Los Angeles Lakers’ season-opening game outside Staples Center. (Getty Images)

So, the National Basketball Association – while always willing to take positions against US businesses and cities over perceived injustice – has generally remained silent on China. And the mainstream media doesn’t dare ask, despite the apparent hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, Silver deserves praise for his recent comments, at least acknowledging that the league loses money when it does not meet the wishes of the Chinese government. Now it must take the next step and withdraw the rights to pre-season games, camps and broadcasts from the country.

As the late Commissioner David Stern once said, “There are 350 million people in the United States. But there are 350 million in China who only love basketball.”

That was long before China became the evil empire it is today. At the time, it was a good idea to try to build the relationship and take millions of China.

Now, though, it’s clearly a bad idea. Moving away from China may be tough financially for the NBA, but it’s the right move. Perhaps Silver and the NBA will gain an understanding of that.

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