ESPN Drops Bombshell Report On NBA’s Chinese Academies

Videos by OutKick

Accusations of abuse by Chinese coaches at NBA training academies. Human rights concerns at a youth-development center. Barbed-wire camps. Amercan coaches harassed. One person comparing the atmosphere at a Chinese academy to “World War II Germany.”

That’s the word today via an explosive report from on what’s going in China with the NBA and the operations it is maintaining in places like Xinjiang where American coaches are reportedly under surveillance.

In other words, all hell is breaking loose on Adam Silver and those who’ve stood by and allowed China to dictate how the NBA would handle things like Hong Kong. When ESPN is breaking a massive story on a Chinese basketball camp and using “World War II Germany” in the report, you know this is very big news.

In their report, Steve Fainaru & Mark Fainaru-Wada can’t get NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum to say whether the closing of the Xinjiang academy was based on human rights violations. Tatum declined to say.

Let me repeat that for you guys, the NBA’s COO won’t say yes or no whether human rights played a part in the closing of the Xinjiang academy. Go read the full story, it’s eye-opening where the NBA finds itself as it tries to expand the brand to China and suck up the dollars that come with that expansion.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who had been pressing the NBA on its relationship with China, finally heard back from the league office. One answer that stuck out to Hawley was this one:

Hawley: How does the NBA plan to defend NBA players and employees against retaliation by the Chinese Communist Party if they choose to speak out against the Party’s actions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, or elsewhere?

NBA: We are respectfully unable to respond to this hypothetical question, other than to say that values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA, and we support the ability of our players and other team representatives to speak out on issues of public concern that are important to them.

Hawley appears headed for a possible showdown with Silver in D.C. “The whole letter is a joke. Reads like lawyers in Beijing drafted it. Maybe it’s time to hear directly from Adam Silver. On Capitol Hill. Under oath,” Hawley wrote on Twitter.

I’ll leave you with this from the ESPN report. This pretty much sums up where Silver and his NBA expansionists are right now with China and the hypocrisy of the times we’re living in.

“You can’t have it both ways,” the former employee said. “… You can’t be over here in February promoting Black History Month and be over in China, where they’re in reeducation camps and all the people that you’re partnering with are hitting kids.”

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


Leave a Reply
  1. The house of cards is about to fall. If MSESPN is reporting on this and throwing the NBA under the bus there must be substance to this. NBA is a joke. Kerr? LeBron? Silver? Popovich? Anything you guys have to say? Nah it’s too sticky and may lose them money.

  2. Been saying it for weeks. Lebron and Silver refuse to “shut up and dribble” unless it’s about China…then they bend over and hope the Chinese are gentle. Pathetic. Double standards and hypocrisy the name of the game in 2020 though!

  3. Looks like we’re starting to detect some extra heat in the NBA/China Kitchen…hmmm.
    The commish doesn’t look he’s a heat in the kitchen kinda guy…watching how the chefs work…he’s more the A/C restaurant front of the house guy. Let’s see if he wilts under the steam.

  4. I am certain that one of these writers at OK is going to do a beautiful job of dissecting this article, but four things jump out at me:
    1.) – “Please don’t mention that you have been advised by the NBA not to respond.”-
    2.) -Tatum said the NBA wasn’t aware of political tensions or human rights issues in Xinjiang when it announced it was launching the training academy there in 2016-
    3.)-“My job, our job is not to take a position on every single human rights violation, and I’m not an expert in every human rights situation or violation,” Tatum said.-
    4.) The fact that this story is now two hours old, it should be a bombshell, and ESPN has already buried it.

    • The writer(s) will be demoted and possibly fired. I hope they bury ESPN if that happens. Someone from their camp actually does journalism on the NBA besides fluff pieces about Taco Tuesday and whether Lebron took a solid shit today or not and they will be buried. Kinda their M.O. at this point! Sage Steele: NEVER FORGET

  5. Hopefully, the league will get a wake-up call regarding its hypocrisy on the human rights record in China, and looking the other way when bad things happen (especially in Hong Kong).

    Karma is a bitch for a reason.

  6. Silver? Kerr? Popovich? LeBron? Woj? Anybody at Nike? These jackasses are so quick to bash the U.S., but will likely continue their silence when it comes to how horrible China is! Human rights abuses, stealing our technology, taking over Hong Kong and unleashing a pandemic on the world killing 150,000 Americans and destroying our economy….. the hypocrisy is incredible! Of course this report didn’t come from Woj. I’m sure Woj will continue to carry the NBA’s water instead of being a journalist. #hypocritejackasses

  7. It looks like ESPN’s skirt is dirty as it describes its relationship with the NBA academies as a “non-voting board observer”. Just like the NBA, ESPN was sitting back and watching this stuff happen.

    I am surprised ESPN even posted this on its website. They have been the ultimate fanboy of the NBA. Gotta give them a point or two for this.

    The NBA has been caught red-handed prioritizing profits over principles. It responded to Hawley that “freedom of expression have long defined the NBA” and won’t say anything about freedom of speech being suppressed by the CCP. NBA is digging itself deeper in a hole and it needs to stop.

  8. It doesn’t take much courage to stand up for ideas with which everyone around you already agrees. Actual courage from say LeBron (and other NBA SJWs) would be to stand up to his own league or the Chinese or who pay his shoe contracts and say this stops. If he’s outraged that Brees would dare consider not kneeling, then the American definition of child abuse in NBA camps in China should be exponentially worse. Lebron likes to talk like a hero, but it’s easy to sound like a hero when there is no risk. Let’s see if Lebron is a real hero or a poser, if he’s willing to hold his own to the standards he expects from others. I hope I’m wrong.

  9. Great write-up, Kinsey.

    And kudos to Steve Fainaru/Mark Fainaru-Wada & John Mastroberardino for having the gonads to stick their necks out.

    Finally some real sports journalism out of ESPN in 2020.

Leave a Reply