NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Says Boycotting China Won’t Change Anything

LeBron James (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t sound like he’ll end the league’s relationship with China in the near future.

The NBA and China are becoming more and more woven together as the communist country represents billions in future earnings for the league. Yet, there has been harsh criticism from some that the NBA provides cover for human rights violations in China. Most notably, when former Rockets GM Daryl Morey expressed support for Hong Kong protesters, people were quick to rip him and were silent on China. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

Well, Silver is realistic and he knows the NBA needs China and he thinks a boycott is pointless.

Silver recently told TIME the following in part about how he views China and the NBA’s relationship with the communist dictatorship:

The political science major in me believes that engagement is better than isolation. That a so-called boycott of China, taking into account legitimate criticisms of the Chinese system, won’t further the agenda of those who seek to bring about global change. Working with Chinese solely on NBA basketball has been a net plus for building relationships between two superpowers.

To make matters even more interesting, TIME pushed Silver on human rights in China, and he responded by recognizing that sports can connect people, but won’t fix much. He added in part:

I don’t want to overstate it. While I’m a believer in soft power, I’m certainly not sitting here claiming that by virtue of televising NBA games in China lo and behold, there’ll be a reckoning in China to adopt a Western point of view about human rights.

Honestly, at least Silver is being honest. He’s not trying to spin much of a story. The NBA wants to work with China, he knows damn well the country has major issues but he doesn’t see those issues as his to solve.

Say whatever you want about Silver, but at least he’s honest. I truly encourage you all to also read the whole interview. It’s worth it because it shines a light on his mind.

Silver might get hammered by people who think the league’s stance on China is gross, but he’s not an idiot. In fact, I’d argue that he’s the smartest commissioner in all of pro sports.

He knows exactly what he’s doing, and he knows how much money there is to be made in China. He’s making a calculated decision to continue to do business and not take a real stand against the Chinese dictatorship, which literally runs concentration camps for the Uighurs.

I mean, Steve Kerr once literally spent time talking AR-15s instead of legit human rights violations in China. The NBA is done pretending the league cares, and all you can do at this point is appreciate their honesty.

Let us know in the comments what you think the NBA should do with China.