Heh you NBA, you National Basketball Association people in the USA, since when do you let the Peoples Republic of China, which is Communistic government, tell us Americans what we can say and do? This is America–land of the free and home of the brave, at least after we dumped slavery. This is a free country, a democracy, and China is not.
In case you’ve been hanging out in some cave lately with no smart phone, there’s a four-month long democracy protest movement going on in Hong Kong that is sort of disabling the city, with police cracking down resulting in injuries. Then, last Friday Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was in Japan when he tweeted on his Twitter account an image that said, “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong.”
The Chinese government went bananas. They immediately disassociated China from the Houston Rockets and canceled some preseason NBA games. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver went into panic mode with a tepid statement that was conciliatory toward China. Monday, he rectified the situation somewhat with a fuller statement explaining that the NBA consists of people and players that are diverse in ethnicity and cultural values and that the NBA cannot be responsible for controlling what its people say.
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who also owns Landry’s restaurant chain, sort of apologized to China and distanced himself from Morey by tweeting that morey “does NOT speak for the Houston Rockets.” Fertitta later smoothed things over by saying, “I have the best general manager in the league. . . . We’re here to play basketball and not to offend anybody.”
The NBA and Mr. Fertitta need to think first about the USA, that is, what it stands for, and then think about basketball and China. More specifically, it’s the NBA fans here in the USA who come first, not NBA fans in China no matter how much association the Houston Rockets have with that far away country.
We’re talking about basic, fundamental values of free speech, the very foundation upon which our democracy is based. Maybe some NBA people need to go read a history book or political science book 101 about what has happened in this world the past century regarding the Free World and Communism. Sixty years ago, I began attending the University of Houston, taking political science courses, and attending large anti-Communist rallies in Houston.
The Cold War was just getting cranked up. It was us against them. Short, bald, and rotund Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964. predicted boldly that Communism would “bury” the U.S. and the rest of the Free World.I remember seeing and hearing Herb Philbrick at an anti-Communist rally, which was called a “Crusade.” Philbrick became the source of the engaging, 1950s TV series entitled “I Led 3 Lives.” As a former Boston businessman, and at the behest of the FBI, Mr. Philbrick infiltrated the Communist Party USA throughout the 1940s to better inform our government about the workings Communism and its effect on our country.
Communist and seven foot, six inch center Yao Ming from China played ten years for the Houston Rockets. He was an All-Star, Hall of Famer, and well liked. But Mr. Ming didn’t keep all that money he made on account of America’s freedoms; instead, a lot of it went to the Chinese government. Of course, we have our taxes here; but it’s nothing compared to living under communism unless you can corruptly game their system.
These All-Star NBA players who make so many millions of dollars per year, if they lived in Communist China they would be playing in the China Basketball Association and making a whole lot less money.
Some NBA players and coaches are being singled out for not saying anything in the midst of this crises they unwantedly find themselves in. Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors, who is sort of an intellectual who speaks out often on various issues, didn’t have much to say as did his star player Stephen Curry. But I think this is an issue that NBA owners and its Player representatives should get together about, discuss, and decide on a strategy.
Like I said before, China needs the NBA more than the NBA needs China. Here’s why. If Chinese authorities, who are about as authoritarian as it gets, want to tell the Free World how we should talk and act towards China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, then China will just have to crawl back in its hole where it used to be under previous Communistic dictators. Later Politburo chiefs shook off China’s third world status by adopting free markets, and look where it’s gotten them. China is truly a developing nation about to surpass the USA in GDP as foremost in the world. But China telling our Daryl Morey’s what to say and not to say or China’s authorities will punish such Americans will not work for China in the long run. Moreover, it might be a further catalyst for China’s own people to rise up against Communism as the Hong Kong protestors are doing now. They live in a semi-autonomous land where there is “one country, two systems” in agreement with China. It just might fall apart someday. Look what happened to the Soviet Union. And how has communism worked out for our Latin brothers in Cuber?
NBA, support freedom, stand for America, and be a beacon for democracy in the world. It’s not only worth more than the almighty dollar, our commercial ingenuity due to democratic freedom and its free markets actually enabled you to get all those dollars.