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Former NBA Star Dwight Howard Apologizes To China After Calling Taiwan A Country

   DailyWire.com
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 19: Dwight Howard #12 of the Taoyuan Leopard made a layup shot during the T1 League game between TaiwanBeer HeroBears and Taoyuan Leopards at University of Taipei Tianmu Gymnasium on February 19, 2023 in Taipei, Taiwan.
(Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)

Former NBA star Dwight Howard has apologized to China after he referred to Taiwan as a country during a video with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Howard, who played over 15 seasons in the NBA and won a championship in 2020, upset Chinese basketball fans with the Taiwan reference in a promotional video filmed with Taiwan’s vice president, Lai Ching-te. 

“I’m Dwight Howard and since I came to Taiwan I’ve gained a whole new appreciation of this country,” Howard said in the video. “This place makes me feel so much love and I experience so much hospitality with a friendly and great living environment with such a great diverse culture.”

The video was announcing the opportunity for people to win a night stay at Taiwan’s presidential office.

Howard, who previously played for teams like the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers, now plays for the Taoyuan Leopards, a team in Taiwan’s T1 basketball league. His comments in the video went viral on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, where he was bashed by angry Chinese citizens upset that he would suggest Taiwan is independent. 

The former NBA star quickly walked back his comments and apologized to China, saying that he was not using the word “country” in the way many interpreted. 

“Where I’m from, if I say I wanna go to the country, it doesn’t mean that place is a country. It’s just how we talk,” he said. “If I offended anyone in China I apologize. It was not my intention to harm anyone with what I said in the commercial,” Howard said.

He said that he did not mean to disrespect anyone from Taiwan or China. 

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“I am not a politician. I don’t want to get involved in any politics,” the eight-time All-Star said. “I have the utmost respect for Chinese people and utmost respect for Taiwanese people, so it was never my intent to disrespect nobody.”

Taiwan presidential spokesperson Kolas Yotaka told CNN that Chinese visitors would be welcome to come to stay in Taiwan to learn more about it. 

“We do not intend to break their hearts. We welcome them to stay in Taiwan for a few nights. If you know more about Taiwan, you will know why politicians, athletes, tourists, and entrepreneurs from all over the world like to come to our country,” she said. 

Howard’s apology is similar to when actor and wrestler John Cena apologized to China after calling Taiwan a country in 2021 during a “Fast and Furious” promotional video.

“I made one mistake. I have to say something very, very, very important now. I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologize, I apologize, I’m very sorry,” he said.

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