If you’ve been following the NBA, this is no surprise…
According to a new report from ESPN, the NBA’s 40 principal owners “collectively have more than $10 billion tied up in China.” The league has a history with China, sacrificing integrity and ignoring human rights violations in order to participate in the world’s second-largest economy.
Players, coaches and owners are also discouraged from speaking out against the country.
In October 2019, former Rockets manager Daryl Morey sent a tweet supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong-Kong: “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Seven words was all it took to spark an international backlash from the red giant —and the NBA.
Morey was forced to apologize. The NBA went into damage control mode, saying the tweet was “regrettable” and clarifying that Morey’s support “does not represent the Rockets or the NBA.”
NBA All-Star LeBron James said Morey was “not educated on the situation,” and “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”
Financially is the key word there. LeBron sells a lot of sneakers in China. And now we know nearly every owner has a hand in the China pie, as well.
“Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai — who co-founded Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba — has 53.5% of his net worth tied to China,” The Daily Wire reports. “Meanwhile, it is estimated that Sacramento Kings co-owner Paul Jacobs has over 30% of his net worth linked to the nation. Jacobs — the former CEO of Qualcomm — has over $200 million in shares of the technology company, which earned two-thirds of its total annual revenues from China and Hong Kong last year.”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Owners of the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers —and of course Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan has extensive Chinese business ties.
“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,” the ESPN analysis found.
And that;s not even the worst of it. One owner is enriching our enemy in a very dangerous way.
“Heat Owner Micky Arison…has more than $375 million invested in China with his collaboration with China State Shipbuilding Corp., a company that is working with Arison’s Carnival Cruise business and a co. that is deeply connected to the Chinese military,” Breitbart reports.
“In other words, Arison is deep in bed with a company that is building warships for the Chinese military, ships intended to destroy America’s navy, and ships that Chinese leaders intend to use to invade U.S. ally Taiwan. The Chinese company is also on a list of those sanctioned by the U.S. government.”
Not everyone is willing to play ball with China —take former Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter Freedom. EKF grew up experiencing political oppression in Turkey, and has spoken out against the NBA cozying up to communist China.
“You know, you see, there’s so many athletes, so many actors, you know, so many singers and rappers out there,” Kanter told Fox News last year. “They’re scared. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money. They care too much about their endorsement deals. They care too much about what the teams that they play for are going to say. But, you know, they should know one thing: It should be morals and principles over money. It shouldn’t be the opposite way.”
Unfortunately, EKF is now a free agent; he suspects his anti-China rhetoric is to blame. And considering the NBA’s tangled finances with Red China, it’s not a leap to draw that conclusion.