Stephen Curry on how NBA goes forward in China: “Staying true to who we are a league”
With LeBron James and Kyrie Irving leading the way, the Nets’ and Lakers’ players in China for exhibition games didn’t want to be the face of the NBA’s suddenly-fraught relationship with China. The players rightfully wanted the league to speak first.
That doesn’t mean the questions are going away.
Stephen Curry — who is the face of Under Armor’s basketball shoe and clothing line, and who helps sell a lot of apparel in China — was asked on Monday how he and the league move forward in their relationship with China. Nick Friedell of ESPN had the answer.
Steph on what's the best way for the league to come through the China situation: (1/2) "Staying true to who we are a league. But figuring out how that plays with all the different connections we have and opportunities we have. Just the way we've done business has been great ..."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) October 14, 2019
Steph (2/2) "I think the way that we've represented ourselves is positive, more times than not, and sticking with that approach -- the collective mindset from Adam Silver all the way down to the last player on the bench, I think that's been a good vibe and open communication."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) October 14, 2019
This basically echos Adam Silver’s second statement, one where he talked about the league’s commitment to free speech, just phrased a to make it more of a “who we are as a league” comment.
For now, tensions between the NBA and China seem to be relaxing, including NBA preseason games being shown in China again. Both sides would like this story to fade from the headlines. It’s not good business for the NBA — who came off poorly from a PR perspective in the exchange — and in China the NBA is incredibly popular with youth and cutting that off starts could lead to a backlash.
However, the underlying issues, the trade concerns, the differences in cultures and how they view free speech, none of that is going away. It’s going to flare up again at some point.
Whenever that is, expect the league and the players to be better prepared with how to handle it.