The NBA and China continue to butt heads
Much like the Brandeis Confessions Facebook pages, just when you think it’s done, someone starts the National Basketball Association versus the Chinese Government controversy up again. Just as the controversy was beginning to die down, it has returned and is even bigger than before. In quick summary, Daryl Morey, the general manager for the Houston Rockets, retweeted a pro-Hong Kong tweet. China was angered by the retweet and made a series of threats. Everyone was mad at the league’s commissioner Adam Silver. One threat made was that Chinese television companies would not carry any NBA games this season, though less than a week after that threat, a Chinese broadcasting company aired NBA preseason games. This should have brought an end to the controversy — China realized they overreacted and everything goes back to mostly normal.
That would be just too easy, though. Journalists annoyed Lebron continuously trying to get him to talk about Morey’s tweet and the NBA’s situation with China. He refused to speak, though, saying that the onus of doing so should be on the owners, general managers and Adam Silver. He also said that if a player had made a similar statement regarding the Hong Kong crisis, they would have been severely punished for it. Lebron was quiet for a few more days until members of the media continued to bombard him with questions about it. Lebron wound up putting his foot in his mouth, saying, “I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.” Lebron later explained that he was only specifically speaking about the repercussions of the tweet, not about the actual situation that the tweet discusses.
Andre Igoudala, player for the Memphis Grizzlies, came out in support of Lebron on a talk show saying, "What I got from Lebron's interview was they had to go over there and play. And then their safety … think about that! Morey's free to say what he said, but sometimes you have to think about the safety of the players. He could have waited a week." Iggy and Lebron both make really good points: Morey didn’t think the tweet through and didn’t think about the repercussions at all. Multiple NBA teams — including the Los Angeles Lakers, where James plays and Iggy is rumored to be trying to join — where in China during the entire saga. The NBA refused to cancel the games or let anyone go back to the United States until the games were completed, meaning those players were stuck in a country run by a regime that is shown to be dangerous at its worst and unpredictable at its best.
Silver spoke at a Time Magazine event about the incident and claimed that China was demanding that he have Daryl Morey fired over the tweet. Adam Silver, the people’s champion, told them to suck an egg, the NBA won’t fire Morey and they won't even discipline him. The Chinese government refutes these claims, and a crowd of people collectively say, “Yeah sure, bro.” Silver continued by stating that his initial issues with the situation were when he was trying too hard to be a diplomat instead of the league commissioner. It’s really refreshing to see Silver act strong; this was his first real test as commissioner and in my opinion it went above average.