New Analysis Shows the NBA Is More In China’s Pocket Than We Thought – Opinion

Two things make the NBA famous: Stephen Curry, and China. It’s a relationship that has caused the sport to make some very odd decisions, including becoming incredibly politicized. The NBA has punished those who have been critical of China or supportive of Taiwan or Hong Kong in the past.

(READ: Human Rights) Money? There was a choice. The NBA chose to go for the money.

According to ESPN, it’s a bit more than just the NBA trying to break into the Chinese market. It turns out that NBA owners are much more friendly with China than you might think.

Three years ago, the league’s games were banned by Chinese state television. However, it was allowed to return on air one day without any fuss. Team owners hadn’t spoken up in protest during the ban at all, even while the league attempted to repair whatever relationship troubles they were having with the communist nation. As ESPN reported, the reason for the team owner’s silence was discovered:

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.

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.

In other words, the team owners weren’t going to challenge the decisions of the authoritarian Chinese government for fear that doing so would cost them significantly in their other businesses. These team owners, who are now effectively cowards of the Chinese government due to their contribution to NBA China’s bottom line with each team earning around $150 million per year, can be attributed to this.

It is clear that the owners of these teams, as well as the NBA, started preaching social justice to Americans and carrying water to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The owners wanted to make it seem like they really cared for the oppressed, and that they were supporting the small guy. However, the Chinese human rights atrocities continue in China.

While perhaps not at all shocking, this does put the NBA’s ties to China in a much clearer light. Many owners of team have chosen Chinese values over American money.

One thing is for sure, and that’s that no amount of moral grandstanding from NBA team owners should be trusted ever again.

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