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Last week the National Basketball Association was brought to heel by China over a tweet by Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, supporting democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Chinese retribution was quick as all 11 of the NBA’s official Chinese partners suspended ties, and appearances and endorsement deals were cancelled — just as the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets arrived in Shanghai for two exhibition games.
Americans were feted to the sight of Houston’s James Harden and LeBron James of Los Angeles reciting their lines like kidnapping victims in a ransom video.
Harden’s “We apologize. You know, we love China” was forgettable enough, and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr helpfully informed us “The world is a complex place and there’s more gray than black-and-white” when asked about the NBA kowtowing to the Chinese government. But @KingJames wrote his epitaph with, “So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it” — which is probably what the Chinese government tells the Chinese people….[ ]