Clay: “The NBA is taking Chinese blood money and saying nothing at all about it.”

ESPN released a very damning article on the NBA’s academies in China, which is quite surprising considering they hadn’t criticized the relationship until Adrian Wojnarowski responded “F U” to Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.

Clay and the crew weighed in on Outkick this morning and everyone wonders whether or not ESPN will talk about the article at any point during their broadcasts today.

“I think they felt compelled to release this story after the Woj ‘FU’ email. I wonder if they would have run the story if that didn’t happen? I really do. And, I’ll be curious, to their credit, they dropped the story, meaning they released it, I’ll be curious if they talk about it at all on any ESPN programming. Because the story, I mean again, there is someone in there who says the NBA’s relationship with China, these basketball camps they were running, it’s like Nazi Germany.

“People love to talk about being on the right side of history. That’s a phrase that has gotten really popular. And frankly, it’s a phrase that people who don’t study history very often embrace. And you’re talking to a guy who’s spent his life as someone who is obsessed with history, right? And so, one of the things you learn is history makes you humble because you find out that many things you thought were correct or not actually correct. If you study history, it can take hundreds of years for, quote-unquote, the right side of history to be revealed. But what it doesn’t take any time at all to know is that being on the side of basic human rights is the right side of history. Being on the side of the First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, being on the right side of women being able to choose how many kids they want to have, those are all easy decisions to make to be on the right side of history. Right now, the NBA and its players, its coaches, and its executives are choosing to be on the side of modern-day Nazis in China. They are ripping American institutions to the high heavens while simultaneously shutting up and dribbling for China. And that is going to be on display for everyone in America tonight with the return of the NBA. The hypocrisy is going to be more glaring and apparent than I have ever seen before in the history of American sports.

“So, you want to talk about the right side of history? NBA players are denigrating American institutions and values which are unquestionably on the right side of history, and they aren’t saying a word about modern-day Nazis in China. And, I just sit here and I think to myself, ‘How in the world are all these sports media members who claim that they want to cover the truth, not actually speaking truth to power to NBA players and owners and executives?’ I mean, if Adam Silver had a spine at all, he would say, ‘We are walking away from China because we reject the values that they represent right now in the world.’ Instead, Adam Silver said that the NBA had mutual respect for China. It’s unfathomable to me that this is allowed to happen, and that many people in the American sports media are going to praise to the high heavens whatever NBA players do tonight while not even mentioning the rank hypocrisy of their actions as it pertains to China.”

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Written by Michael Shamburger

Michael has 11+ years covering golf and college football. He's walked alongside Tiger, bleeds Purple and Gold, and is thankful for Joe Burrow! DBAP


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  1. Hey Clay,
    Your logic is inescapable in this whole issue, and for one of the cornerstones of American Sports and Americana itself to degrade and debase itself to the CCP is mind-blowing.
    Even in this age of shameless greed displayed by the titans of tech (and to a lesser degree by the nameless, faceless chairs of the big multi-nationals), what Adam Silver has acceded to and accepted defies logic.
    The NBA had a product — and was a product — that every major TV sports platform vied for because the ROI was worth it. China is an emerging market for the NBA and you would think the leverage would be one-sided for Adam Silver and the Board of Governors.
    When Honda and Toyota started shipping cars to the US in the early 1980s we all had to pay a premium for the vehicles; we had no leverage as buyers because the quality was paramount.
    If the CCP wanted the NBA’s product, and all the ancillary benefits that went with it, then how was it the CCP was allowed to dictate the terms? The money is astronomical, of course, but aside from the actual rights to cover and produce the NBA in China, everything else should not be in the conversation. So you make the CCP wait a year or two if they demand too much. Apparently nothing is a bridge too far for to satisfy the NBA greedlust. Just sayin.

  2. Don’t worry, the Jazz and Pelicans kneeled today but the ever gracious Silver waived the NBA rule. The lame choreographed nature of this is astounding. Protest requires sacrifice – this is PR.

    The NBA could use its cultural impact in China to make a difference, but an extra couple million on a max contract is worth the price of Uyghur lives.

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