NBA Chief Adam Silver Calls NBA’s Relationship with China a ‘Net Plus’

NBA China
Getty Images

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is defending his deals with the communist Chinese government, insisting that the league is somehow helping to bring “change” to the oppressive nation.

In an interview with Time, Silver justified his league’s dealings with one of the most autocratic, undemocratic, and oppressive nations on earth when asked about his deals in China.

Silver was undaunted, saying, “We continue to televise our games in China. Our most significant television partner is Tencent, which is a streaming service in China. And we have hundreds of millions of fans in China who we continue to serve.”

The NBA chief went on to claim that dealing with one of the world’s largest slave states is part of the NBA’s “mission.”

“I’ll take a step back there and restate the NBA’s mission,” Silver said, adding, “which is to improve people’s lives through the game of basketball. And we think exporting NBA basketball to China and to virtually every country in the world continues to fit within our mission.”

Silver concluded by insisting that his  “political science” background makes him believe that the NBA’s billion-dollar deals with China are somehow “building relationships” between nations.

“The political science major in me believes that engagement is better than isolation,” Silver exclaimed. “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.”

So, the NBA’s riches are wages earned in the cause of freedom, apparently.

Meanwhile, the NBA and its players ignore the fact that their products are often manufactured using slave labor by the Chinese companies with which they deal. Yet the players and league remain silent about the truth.

Even as the NBA and its players are making millions with their lucrative deals with the red Chinese, not everyone is so blasé as Silver is about it all. For instance, in July of last year, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn sent a letter to the league warning Silver that doing business in China necessarily means you must do business with the Communist Party.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.