The Chinese Arm of Control
This isn’t something I normally talk about, but the world as we know it as Americans is VERY different than the world that the Chinese do. The NBA is finding this out the hard way, and this is a situation that was entirely preventable. It has to do a lot with people not understanding their role and sticking to it combined with the fact that patience and a willingness to ignore controversial statements is not a strong suit of China and the Chinese people in 2019.
The problem is that Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston Rockets, who happen to be the most popular team in China, voiced his support for the liberation of Hong Kong. Now, I’m not going to get into anything regarding this issue, but I do know that it’s a sore spot for China and their government. Which is why a major NBA executive coming out and rustling their feathers was a very bad idea.
As of now, China and Chinese companies have pulled all sponsorship for the NBA and have ceased broadcasting league games. In no uncertain terms, this is one of the worst things that has happened to the league financially in years. Obviously, money makes the world go round and many people have criticized the fact that money has seeped into the league, but that’s important considering how much the league has grown since the turn of the century.
However, it can’t be understated that this issue needs to be dealt with. The first thing that should have happened, but didn’t, is that the Houston Rockets should have fired Daryl Morey on the spot. It should still happen, but making political statements goes directly against normal terms of employment, especially when those statements work to the detriment of your employer.
Basketball is the most popular sport in China and, as I said before, the Houston Rockets are the nation’s most popular team. There are strong Chinese ties to the team (they occasionally wear uniforms in Mandarin), so this really hurts them.
I understand that Daryl Morey is a great GM, but he has to be let go. Besides, he’s remained stagnant in improving the team, as they haven’t made it past the Conference Finals during his tenure despite being among the favorites to make the NBA Finals.