NBA Commissioner Defends League’s Relationship with China, says building relationships must to bring change

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

DHARAMSALA, 4 May: To bring change, building a relationship is a must, the NBA Boss has said defending the league’s tie with China.

“To bring about realistic change, we have to build relationships,” the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said in an interview with Time Magazine while speaking about the league’s relationship with China.

The Commissioner of the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world has said that it is the organisation’s mission to improve people’s lives through the game of basketball and that  “we think exporting NBA basketball to China and to virtually every country in the world continues to fit within our mission.”

“The political science major in me believes that engagement is better than isolation,” he said and added 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.”

The NBA Boss further declared building relationships must to bring realistic change.

“I do think that in order to bring about realistic change, we have to build relationships.”

The NBA had its first brush with China in 2019, where it courted Beijing’s wrath over Houston Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protest movement.

In a since-deleted tweet, the Houston Rockets general manager posted a picture with a caption, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” showing support and solidarity to protesters in Hong Kong.

The NBA initially statement declared it ‘regrettable,’ and went on to declare that it did not “represent” the organization’s views.

The Chinese consulate condemned Morey’s statement,  while Chinese broadcaster Tencent stopped airing NBA games that incured millions in losses to the NBA.

China is the NBA’s major growth market and its broadcast deal with Tencent alone is worth a reported US$1.5 billion (about A$2.2 billion) a year.

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