There is no question that basketball is China’s most popular sport. “Roughly 800 million people in China tuned into an NBA game. … That’s more than twice the population of the United States,” NBC News reported in 2019. That was before Daryl Moray sent his simple tweet, “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong,” in October of 2019 and started a firestorm that would shake the NBA to its core and begin a nearly 18-month-long ban on NBA games aired on Chinese television.
This was also before ESPN exposed Brooklyn Nets Owner Joe Tsai this week, in a report titled “Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai is the face of NBA’s uneasy China relationship.” Tsai, who also owns WNBA’s New York Liberty and the San Diego Seals of the National Lacrosse League, is worth $8.5 billion, mostly from his Amazon-esque company Alibaba, headquartered in Hangzhou, China, with a revenue of over $700 billion per year. Tsai is among many owners in the NBA and other sports associations who have shown public support for protest movements that are publicly critical of America’s supposed human rights struggles, while at the same time covering up, and in some cases defending, China’s abysmal human rights record.
ESPN reported that Tsai’s “efforts to support the social justice movement in the U.S. come into conflict with statements he made about the personal freedoms of Chinese citizens and the silence around the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of the Communist country…”
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