The NBA’s Full-Court Drama with China | The Daily Show

The NBA. 29 of the world’s
best basketball teams, and, also, the Knicks. (laughter, groaning) The regular season
hasn’t even kicked off yet, but there’s already been a ton
of drama. Now, if you haven’t been
keeping up, last week, the general manager
of the Houston Rockets posted a tweet in support of the pro-democracy protests
in Hong Kong. And the NBA quickly put out a
statement distancing themselves from that tweet. What was funny about this,
though, was that the English version of
the statement was very different from what
it was being translated to for the Chinese Internet. So, like, in English, the
statement was basically like, “Hey, China,
we’re sorry you’re offended.” But then, the Mandarin was like,
“Rest assured, China, we will feed this man
to the wolves.” But then, here in America,
people were pissed that the NBA was kowtowing
to China, right? So yesterday, they went
into damage control mode. And things have only escalated
from there. There’s new fallout this evening in the NBA’s firestorm
with China. MAN: The NBA tonight fighting
back after being blasted for caving to China’s
communist government. Commissioner Adam Silver
defending Houston Rockets’ GM
Daryl Morey. We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression. MAN 2: Shortly after Adam Silver
voiced the league’s support for free speech, fresh backlash from the communist regime
in Beijing. MAN 1: China’s government
tonight digging in, cancelling a Brooklyn Nets
event at a Shanghai school. MAN 3: In the last few hours,
China has started pulling down Lakers
and Nets signage. MAN 2: At least two
major Chinese retailers have pulled
Houston Rockets’ merchandise from their websites. China state TV said
it won’t broadcast or stream NBA pre-season games
in China. Oh, no! Not the pre-season! No! (laughter) Nobody cares
about the pre-season games. Fans in America are like,
“Can you ban them here, as well? Can you, uh…?” Yeah, the pre-season is just,
like, the boring stuff we’re forced to sit through
before the main event. Like, China banning pre-season is like Disney getting rid
of its lines. Just like,
“I’m sorry, but you’ll have “to go straight
to the rides from now on! I wish it didn’t come to this!” “Oh, no.” Still, though,
China is seriously pissed off about the tweet, right? And they’re also pissed off
about the response from the NBA. And they aren’t just taking
pre-season games off the air. They’re also cancelling
NBA events, they’re ripping down
NBA signs everywhere. In fact, like,
everything NBA-related is basically banned. Yeah. No basketball, no LeBron.
In fact, no jumping. Yeah. You see a puddle, you just walk
right through that shit. (laughter) And you can have donuts,
but no Dunkin’. And all office workers in China, if you need to throw something
in the trash, none of this.
No buzzer beaters. You get out, and you just
place it gently in the bin. (laughter) So China is basically going
to war with the NBA, all because of a single tweet. And as surprising
as that may seem to some people, the truth is, this kind of thing
has been happening between China
and American companies a lot. The NBA not the only one feeling
the heat, either. U.S. jeweler Tiffany
also under fire after tweeting an image of a
Chinese model covering one eye with people believing
it was done in solidarity with those Hong Kong protests. Nike,
bowing to pressure from Beijing, pulling a sneaker
from the Chinese market. MAN: Activision has suspended a
professional video game player and taken away his prize money. Apple took the Taiwan emoji off
its keyboard if you are in Hong Kong
or Macao. MAN: Marriott apologized
to the Chinese government. WOMAN: Versace, Givenchy,
and Coach issued apologizes. MAN: Mercedes-Benz is offering
an apology. WOMAN: The Gap issued
a sincere apology. WOMAN 2:
Delta saying, “We apologize deeply
for the mistake.” Damn. China gets offended
by a lot of shit. They’re like
that one guy at work who takes everything personally. You’re just like,
“Hey, man, I like your shoes.” Like, “Oh, wow. So you don’t
like looking at me feet?” “Uh, no, I-I do like your feet”” “Gross. You’re a pervert.” Now here’s the thing. The truth is,
these companies don’t have to take orders from China
about what to say or how to act, but they do it
because nobody wants to lose access
to a billion Chinese customers. It’s a powerful incentive. So powerful, in fact, that China’s influence
is affecting how Americans can act
on American soil. NEWSWOMAN: Tonight’s game
between the 76ers and China’s team,
the Guangzhou Loong Lions, went on as planned
as an international firestorm hangs over
the Wells Fargo Center. And on the sidelines,
Sam Wachs and his wife held “Free Hong Kong”
and “Free HK” signs that were confiscated by
security in the first quarter. Then, in the second quarter,
both got kicked out of the game when Wachs started yelling,
“Free Hong Kong!” As someone
who used to live there, he supports the movement. That’s right.
Fans in Philadelphia got kicked out
of a basketball game last night for chanting, “Free Hong Kong.” And I didn’t realize
that yelling shit at a basketball game was
against the rules. I mean, that must have been
so confusing for all the other fans,
you know? ‘Cause this guy is there like,
“Free Hong Kong!” And then the guy next to him
was probably like, “Hey, Ben Simmons,
suck a Kardashian (bleep)!” And then security’s like,
“You! Get out! “No, not you.
No, the ‘Free Hong Kong’ guy. “You keep going. That stuff
about the Kardashian (bleep), that was hilarious.
Carry on.” For more
on the complicated relationship between China
and American businesses, we turn to our senior
NBA correspondent, Ronny Chieng, everybody! (cheering, applause) Ronny… this is a really, really
contentious issue right now. What are your thoughts
on all of this? Trevor, this whole thing
is more disappointing than every meal I’ve eaten
at P.F. Chang’s, okay? That place is fake Chinese. I’m so glad General Tso isn’t
around to see what they’ve done. Quite frankly, I’m shocked
at how these American companies have behaved, okay? It’s complete bullshit, and they
should be ashamed of themselves. Wow. Ronny, you know,
this-this takes guts. Like, everyone else seems afraid
to… to speak up about China, but you taking a stand
is very brave. Well, someone has to say it. In fact, I want to talk
to China directly. (clears throat) -(laughter)
-Wow! Ronny, like, I don’t understand
what you’re saying, but I can feel
your passion, man. Tr-Trevor, please,
I’m not finished. Preach, brother, preach! -Whoo!
-(cheering, applause) Wow! Wow. Ronny, that-that is amazing. Did you… did you mention me? ‘Cause, like,
I thought I heard my name. Oh, oh, y-yeah, yeah,
I said you’re… you’re my hero and my friend. (laughter) I’m honored, Ronny. You’re my hero and my friend. How-how do I say that
in Chinese? Oh, uh…
(speaks Chinese) Oh. Close enough. Ronny Chieng, everybody.


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