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Adam Silver interrogated about China by U.S. Senator in angry letter

Adam Silver, NBA, China

A U.S. Senator is looking for answers from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver regarding the league’s relationship with its longtime partner, China.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) expressed “concern” over how the NBA has dealt with a country known for its Communist regime, one that violates plenty of democratic views.

In the two-page letter obtained by Sports Illustrated, Blackburn doesn’t as much ask but rather demand answers from Silver, even giving the commissioner a July 21 deadline to respond. The questions are as follows:

1. What are the anticipated financial consequences of China Central Television’s (CCTV) continued ban on the airing of NBA games?

2. Please outline the scope of the NBA’s relationship with Chinese state-owned enterprise Alibaba.

3. The NBA reportedly continues to operate a training center Xinjiang, one of the world’s worst humanitarian zones. What steps is the NBA taking to shutter this location?

Silver recently spoke with Sean Gregory of TIME Magazine, touching on a number of different subjects, including the league’s relationship with China.

The commissioner admitted it’s not the best, but that the NBA has made efforts to repair a relationship that saw its rifts in October 2019 after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey professed his support by those oppressed in Hong Kong by tweeting “stand with Hong Kong.”

The since-deleted tweet was met with an irate Chinese government and resulted in sponsors pulling out of the NBA’s schedule exhibition games in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Silver estimated losses were “less than $400 million,” but the NBA could be in dire straits when those losses are coupled with the lost revenue stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Nevertheless, it seems outrageous for a U.S. Senator to demand answers in such fashion without Silver being under oath to do so. The NBA is under no obligation to respond, though Silver most likely will at some point to keep heads at peace.