News and Commentary

‘LeBron James Is A Chinese Apologist’: Ben Shapiro and Clay Travis Sound Off On NBA For Bowing Down To China

   DailyWire.com
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 22: A pro-Hong Kong activist holds a photo depicting LeBron James as Chinese communist revolutionary Chairman Mao Zedong before the Los Angeles Lakers season opening game against the LA Clippers, outside Staples Center, on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Activists also printed 16,000 pro-Hong Kong t-shirts to hand out to those attending the game and encouraged them to wear the free shirts as a form of peaceful protest against China amidst Chinese censorship of NBA games. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

On the latest episode of The Ben Shapiro Show, founder of “Outkick the Coverage” and Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis sat down with Ben Shapiro to discuss Outkick’s report on NBA stars partnering with Chinese shoe companies that profit from slave labor. 

Over the past year, the NBA has been at the forefront of the social justice movement. NBA players famously boycotted games during last year’s NBA playoffs after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI, and just last week, the Minnesota Timberwolves boycotted a game after the police shooting of a black man in Minneapolis, MN. 

While the NBA seems more than happy to address any and every social justice initiative in America, apparently their potential complicity in slave labor in China doesn’t warrant the same attention.

According to Travis, “these [Chinese] sneaker companies, Li-Ning and Anta, have contracts with several star NBA players. Guys like Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, DeAngelo Russell, and Dwyane Wade, who is retired but still an influential voice in the NBA.”

In Travis’ words, the two shoe companies “made the decision that not only are they going to refuse to abandon Chinese slave labor cotton, they’re actually going to double-down on the fact that they are using it. They say they are committed to using slave labor cotton.”

“And when you ask the NBA players or commissioner Adam Silver whether that’s appropriate given the NBA’s social justice warrior stance, they refuse comment.” 

“There is cotton being produced from the Xinjiang region in China by the Muslim Uyghurs that is considered to be slave-produced cotton,” Travis went on to explain.

Yes. The Daily Wire is covering sports – without the woke. Want more? Become a member.

The controversy over the NBA’s cozy relationship with China is nothing new. 

In October of 2019, then Houston Rockets President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, tweeted out his support for Hong Kong as the CCP attempted to tighten their grip on the formerly independent state.

The Morey tweet caused an uproar within the NBA as Morey was made to apologize and was denounced by the owner of the Rockets. The NBA put out a statement characterizing the tweet as “regrettable,” adding that Morey’s support for Hong Kong “does not represent the Rockets or the NBA.”

It was a highly hypocritical stance by the NBA considering the league’s propensity for supporting all things social justice. 

Shapiro and Travis also touched on LeBron James, the face of the NBA and an outspoken advocate for social justice in the United States, and his unwillingness to denounce the Chinese government and their use of Muslim slave labor. 

“LeBron James for years has been a Chinese apologist,” Shapiro said. “He obviously was very upset that anybody had anything to say about the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong. LeBron had no statements on that but he does have statements every other day how living as a black American means you’re an existential threat thanks to American white supremacy.” 

James, like the NBA itself, has several close business ties with China that are worth millions of dollars a year. It’s equally confusing that James is happy to proclaim that black Americans are “hunted down in the streets,” and yet he’s unwilling to denounce the evils of the Chinese government. 

“LeBron is unwilling to say anything about China both with his relationship with China but more importantly, say Space Jam 2 gets on in Chinese theaters,” Travis added. “If LeBron ever spoke out and said something simple like ‘I’m in favor of human rights around the world’, China would pull his movie as well as his product and his ability to make money off of Chinese corporations.”

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.