Another year, another chance for the NBA’s disgrace. The league’s been a prodigy of cowardice and hypocrisy in its efforts to ingratiate itself to the communist government in China and ensure ongoing access to that huge market. A loose cannon-player insults both the CCP, and even honcho Xi Jinping.
According to the Washington Post, Boston Celtics star Enes Kanter posted a video to Twitter Wednesday calling for Tibetan independence, “a stance that is illegal in China.”
“Brutal dictator of China, Xi Jinping, I have a message for you and your henchmen,” he said in the video. “Free Tibet, free Tibet, free Tibet.” He was wearing a T-shirt featuring an image of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader whom Beijing considers a dangerous separatist.
That little man with glasses and the saffron-colored robe, yes? Pay attention to him. Bravo to Kanter.
This is something the CCP considers very serious. “The Chinese video-streaming giant Tencent cut the live broadcast of Wednesday’s NBA game between the Celtics and New York Knicks,” the Post said. All Celtics games appear to have been removed from the app.
And various Chinese websites and social media accounts, no doubt eager to keep their “social credit” scores up, howled like New York Times staffers reading a Tom Cotton oped.
The big question, however, is how craven will the NBA’s response be? The Celtics, for their part, wasted no time. The Post
Kanter had planned to play Wednesday’s game wearing a pair of sneakers emblazoned with the words “Free Tibet” and an image of a man self-immolating, a desperate form of protest to which Tibetans have sometimes resorted, said Badiucao, a prominent overseas Chinese political cartoonist who painted the designs on the shoes. Kanter wasn’t allowed to play: The coaches didn’t send him on the court Wednesday.
We can’t expect any better from the league. You may recall what transpired when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted in support Hong Kong’s freedom protesters in 2019.
China will tell the NBA what it needs to do in order to be back in good standings. The league will follow through. After that, they will continue lecturing everyone about social justice.