The NBA and U.S. President Donald Trump have collided in the past few days over a controversy related to China. After Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong-Kong protesters, the Chinese government shut out all NBA related items and broadcasts.
In turn, the NBA has tried to stay silent on the issue, with several notable figureheads (like Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich), refraining from calling out China and their pro-Communist nation in light of the incident.
Trump has called out both Kerr and Pop for being “weak” and “pathetic” in their attitude towards China.
In his original statement, Pop commended NBA commissioner Adam Silver for what he saw as an appropriate response. Today, Popovich responded again, this time specifically to Trump, with a rather harsh comment.
“All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver’s show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts in the company of authoritarian figures,” Popovich said, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio-Express News. “Whether it’s Saudi Arabia or North Korea or Russia or Turkey, or whatever it is, he comes off as pretty feckless, impotent, and cowardly by comparison.”
“He stood by our nation and its principles,” Popovich said. “That’s pretty huge in these days. Sometimes it’s kind of Orwellian. We’re living in a place where, ‘is this really happening?’
This back-and-forth between the President and NBA leaders is nothing new.
In the past, those same guys have spoken out against Trump for his policies, his behavior, and his antics to the media. This trend will likely continue as tensions continue to rise.