Despite heavy criticism from some public commentators, the NBA has no plans to change its relationship with China. Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner, said that “values remain the same… business continues” when talking on the subject, per Law Murray.
The criticism towards the NBA came due to what some perceive as hypocrisy as the league, through its stars, is very actively taking stances on social and political issues in the United States, however, the attitude towards one of the NBA’s biggest markets, which is estimated to be worth around $5 billion, is different.
Last season, former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had to backtrack his comments supporting Hong Kong protests in the wake of harsh reaction from China. In the wake of the backlash, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said Morey ‘was not educated’ on the issue before making comments. After Morey left Houston, China’s state television CCTV implied it was due to his comments.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, also refused to call out China for the human rights violations, such as reported genocide of Uighur muslims as disclosed by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.