Imagine if South African PM Pieter Botha invested in the NBA in 1979

After watching the NBA in general the last week and LeBron James in particular this week there must be a bunch of elderly South African exiles kicking themselves today. If only they had known!

Just think, if back in 1979 or the early 80’s South Africa PM Pieter Botha had the foreknowledge of today he could have invested a big chunk of South Africa’s not unsubstantial wealth in the NBA. What a difference it would have made!

Imagine Magic Johnson or Doctor J or Michael Jordan out there saying how misunderstood South Africa is. Ponder Celtics big three of Bird, Parish and McHale insisting that we have no business butting in. Picture Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman James Worthy, Patrick Ewing and the lot having no comment and finally Sir Charles statement on china rephrased defending his fellow players not getting into the issue of Apartheid in South Africa because of finances.

And why stop at South Africa? Think of all the other oppressive regimes in the past 100 years, if they only knew that a stake in an American sports league might have made the difference for them. The Central Powers might have won World War 1. Saddam might still be feeding people into wood chippers, the Soviet Union might not have fallen (the idea of funding US colleges turned out to operate too slow to save them), Idi Amin kids would be ruling Uganda, Hitler might still control most of Europe and completed his final solution.

And of course if baseball crazy Japan had thought of this in 1940 this entire China kerfuffle wouldn’t exist because Japan, thanks presumably to the support of US Ballplayers they had paid, wouldn’t have felt the need to hit Pearl Harbor. Instead they would still be ruling China with an iron fist.

All of these things could have been if they had only thought of investing in a US sports league the way China has the NBA.

Of course it’s just possible that today we are dealing with lesser sons of greater fathers who would not have sold themselves, but there just might be some elderly Japanese vet in a nursing home who fought in China in 1940 watching all this unfold on TV & thinking to himself. “It would have been worth a shot”

Real Dictators vs Liberal Fantasies (Xi vs Trump)

The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method…you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes’ genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were and unmask your whole stratagem.

C.S. Lewis Screwtape 13

One of the defining characteristics of the last three years of the Trump Administration has been the media, the Democrats and activists insisting that he is a dictator and that they are being oppressed, that they are being censored, that the president is operating concentration camps and that any day could be the day that liberals , journalists, gays, etc etc etc would be locked up. I remember working with a young lady, a Bernie supporter who was convinced that she as a lesbian would be thrown into a camp by Donald Trump.

Of course the fact that people were and are freely able to express these opinions in social media, on television, in movies, in classrooms, in public speaking appearances and at rallies not only without fear but with financial and social rewards does not shatter the illusion of oppression to those residing in the kindergarten of Eden, a world where all the dragons you slay are made up out of the whole cloth. Reason and facts are insufficient to break that fun house mirror reflecting virtue and courage to those who wish to see it in themselves.

For that you need the harsh light of reality, which China is providing to the woke oppressed millionaires of the NBA:

Hotair has a list of ten times when the NBA, it’s players, coaches and stars had no problem making political statements, but once a Houston Rockets exec tweeted in support of Hong Kong suddenly folks like Steve Kerr decided they didn’t have anything to say:

As many others have noted over the past 36 hours, the league is known for — and celebrates — its wokeness. People like Kerr and Gregg Popovich are beloved figures among sports-loving liberals for their willingness to chime in on matters of social justice, and have received glowing coverage in the press for it. I don’t begrudge them their greater interest in American injustices than Chinese mass oppression either; it’s natural to worry more about how your friends are being mistreated than people a world away. But that rule of thumb isn’t foolproof: Surely we can agree that once the level of foreign oppression reaches the concentration-camp stage, some reflection on whether you should continue to do business there while ignoring what’s happening is in order. And yet here’s Steve Kerr, the woke coach, playing dumb right in front of reporters.

Folks like Steve Kerr who was never shy about hitting the president suddenly had nothing to say, but China has plenty to say:

Chinese state television said on Tuesday it would not air NBA exhibition games played in the country this week, heaping pressure on the U.S. basketball league after a tweet by a Houston Rockets executive backing protests in Hong Kong. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey apologised on Monday for any hurt caused by the tweet, which he quickly deleted over the weekend.

But China’s government, fans and the team’s partners have not been assuaged, resulting in loss of sponsors and broadcasts in the world’s second-largest economy and an important National Basketball Association (NBA) market.

“We strongly oppose Silver’s support of Morey on the basis of freedom of speech and we think any comments that challenge a country’s sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said Tuesday in a statement in Chinese, adding that it would review its relationship with the NBA.

The NBA issued a statement saying it regretted Morey’s remarks, drawing criticism from U.S. lawmakers.

and the Rockets’ owner was quick to tweet himself

The very woke Rolling Stone was not impressed

The Rockets and the NBA could have stood up for Morey, for decency, and for the protesters and their human rights. More than 2,000 have been injured in months of demonstrations that the Chinese government characterizes as “riots,” but selling sneakers, jerseys, and the game  But they instead folded all too readily, all too eager to hold onto the dollars that they glean from the Communist nation. 


The NBA issued a sorry statement, declaring the league realizes that the tweet may have “deeply offended” Chinese fans and that they “have great respect for the history and culture of China,” as if that had anything to do with a bill that could be used to disappear journalists and critics of an autocratic regime. Morey, who 
The Ringer reports was at one point in jeopardy of losing his job, tweeted his own apology that read like it was dictated by his boss. Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, a co-founder of Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, published an open letter on Facebook that referred to protesters as a “separatist movement.” Even James Harden, the Rockets’ star guard, issued a mea culpa for some reason, even though he wasn’t involved.


That last bit of rank submission to an autocratic regime captured the full extent of the NBA’s sellout to China. 
Several politicians on the left and right, including presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Ben Sasse (R-MO), called out the NBA’s cowardice. Even Rockets fan Ted Cruz took a principled stand:

It’s apparently rather quickly that the NBA was between a rock and a hard place. It’s one thing for China to bully video games companies and brands here and there but the NBA is not a niche market and now you have seeing the censorship hit NBA games as well not to mention the spectacle of a CNN one of the most woke networks of the west asking a question at a press conference and being given the silent treatment.

Someone else immediately comes to take the mic away from Macfarlane. There’s some crosstalk as she argues that she’s asking a legitimate question that hasn’t been answered, but the real payoff to this clip comes when the camera cuts back to Harden and Westbrook. Both are sitting in front of microphones and obediently saying nothing as the question hangs in the air. The NBA is not talking about politics suddenly. Not a word.
I don’t think there can be any doubt about what is happening here. Everyone involved has been told—maybe warned is a better word—not to say anything about China or Hong Kong.

Or to rephrase it, these big strong nuclear athletes who are not afraid to speak out against an American president who they know won’t repress them are terrified of speaking out least they offend China.

I’d like to end with this tweet of Steve Kerr’s latest statement:

Congratulations are in order for Mr. Kerr and the NBA, they now have been taught very plainly by China what a real dictator, who makes you obey or else, is.

Don’t expect to see any sort of “resistance” against China from the NBA, not when there is something to actually lose on the line.