The recent NBA/China Controversy in detail.

Image taken From the Wall Street Journal

Crystal Tai

Image taken From the Wall Street Journal

Sam Libis, Staff Writer

In the past couple of weeks the National Basketball Association has fallen from grace as a result of the current controversy involving the People’s Republic of China. Just as the NBA’s preseason began on October 4, 2019 Daryl  Morey, the General Manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong”. Referencing the protests in Hong Kong against the extradition law, which would allow the Chinese Government to extricate and prosecute criminal offenders. The main objection to this is China’s wide spread corruption epidemic but also the legal implications toward the rights and freedoms of the citizens in Hong Kong. Where speaking out against the Chinese government can lead towards incarceration and in some cases “disappearances”. So consequently the citizens who prize this right would not take this radical shift lightly. As the movement grew it now represents democratic rights and freedoms. At the time the Houston Rockets were staying in China for presumably the rest of the preseason after playing the Shuanghui Sharks on September 30th. After Morey stated his opinion the Chinese Government immediately retaliated by announcing that it would suspend all Rocket’s events including on the very popular platform Tencent that reportedly streamed for 500 million citizens last season. Because the NBA has roughly 2 billion dollars worth of deals in China(does not include individual player deals/endorsements/etc), it issued a response almost as soon as the news of this potential controversy spread nationwide. In summary the response stated that while the organisation respects Morey’s right to speak on the issue, he does so without the backing of the NBA. Many American readers and viewers of this response were very frustrated  but when it was revealed that the “chinese” version of the statement stated that “the league was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the ‘inappropriate’ comment made by Morey” many were outraged. In an effort to quell the fans anger upon this revelation Silver “clarified” that “it is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences”. He topped it off stating that the organization will not not regulate what the players, employees, or team owners say on certain issues, and that he will have a meeting with former NBA great Yao Ming who is the current head of the CBA(Chinese Basketball Association). This seems to have satiated the fan and media’s “thirst” for this story because it no longer in circulation of major news networks and distributors. Since Silver has returned from China he has said that Chinese authorities demanded that Morey be fired. That is the end of the back-and-forth that occurs. Several players,team staff, and owners have made their own statements regarding this issue. James Harden(2x MVP, a current Rocket) stated, when this first took the news by storm, “We apologize. We love China, We love playing there…”. Lebron James, undoubtedly the most influential player in the league completely bashed Daryl Morey calling him “ignorant and uneducated on the matter”. And stating that Morey did not understand the “ramifications” of his actions. Giannis Antetokounmpo (current reigning MVP) did not actually mention the Hong Kong protest but said “I feel like in the NBA they always allow us to express our feelings”.  Greg Popovich (Head Coach of the San Antonio Spurs) had this to say, “[Silver] came out strongly for freedom of speech… He’s been a heck of a leader in that respect and very courageous”. After the regular season began, Shaquille O’neal (former Laker Legend) on the television show “NBA on TNT” ultimately agreed with Morey saying amongst other things ”Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, ‘that’s not right.’ That’s what he did.”