U.S. President Donald Trump has been very critical with NBA coaches for what he called “pandering” to China on Wednesday, even after he declined to take a stance on the league’s dispute with Beijing.
“I watched the way that [Golden State Warriors coach Steve] Kerr and [San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg] Popovich and some of the others were pandering to China, and yet to our own country, it’s like they don’t respect it,” Trump told CNBC.
This week has been quite complex for the league, following Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting the protest in Hong Kong. The NBA has tried to curb the economic damage this situation can cause in its massive China market, as organizations and businesses in the Asian country cut off their relationships with the league.
Steve Kerr didn’t want to comment on the ongoing situation between the NBA and China, suggesting he didn’t have enough knowledge to talk about China politics. As for Popovich, he backed NBA commissioner Adam Silver, calling him a ‘heck of a leader’, taking a shot at Trump in the process.
This has been one of the hottest topics we’ve seen in the NBA for a long time, and not precisely for good reasons. Of course, this won’t be the last thing we learn about this as it looks like we’re very far from closure.