The NBA Training Academies Controversy in China

Anti-Chinese Communist Party activists protest outside Staples Center where free t-shirts were distributed supporting Hong Kong ahead of the Lakers vs Clippers NBA season opener in Los Angeles on October 22, 2019. - Activists handed out free T-shirts displaying support for the Hong Kong protests after an NBA fan in Northern California raised enough money to pay for more than 10,000 shirts, according to the organizer who goes by the pseudonym "Sun Lared" as LeBron James of the Lakers suffers the brunt of people's anger after comments he made in response to the tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong protesters, and drawing the ire of the Chinese Communist Pary. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

According to an ESPN investigation, there is another controversy concerning the NBA and China. This includes abuse by Chinese partners to young players in three NBA Training Academies in China.

Controversy in the NBA Training Academies in China

The controversy with the Chinese training academies seems to be real. This might force a more micro-management approach by the NBA.

This program, launched in 2016, was created to develop local players in a basketball-obsessed market like NBA China, which is a $5 billion enterprise according to Ashish Mathur of clutchpoints.com.

American coaches at three NBA training academies were abused. They said that their Chinese partners were “physically abusing young players and failing to provide schooling.” The American coaches also frequently faced harassment in Xinjiang. One league employee described the atmosphere in Xinjiang as “World War II Germany.”

This makes deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum realize that something must change.

“We were somewhat humbled,” Tatum said, per ESPN. “One of the lessons that we’ve learned here is that we do need to have more direct oversight and the ability to make staffing changes when appropriate.”

Overview of the NBA Training Academies Controversy

Obviously, something needs to change with the NBA Training Academies in China. The NBA needs to micro-manage the situation more and be more involved with their academies in China. According to Sam Quinn of cbssports.com, there are numerous allegations of child abuse. This caused one NBA Training Academy to close.

Bruce Palmer, former technical director of a private basketball school talked about the physical abuse inflicted by Chinese coaches on kids.

“You can’t do that to your kid, this is an NBA training center,” he once told a coach. “If you really feel like hitting a 14-year-old boy, and you think it’s going to help him or make you feel better, take him off campus, but not here, because the NBA does not allow this.”

Yes, business is all about money and China is a lucrative market for the NBA. However, they must also take a step back so that these types of cases do not happen again.

Not the First NBA Controversy with China

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets published and later deleted a tweet that read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” according to Jasmyn Wimbish and Colin Ward-Henninger of cbssports.com. This tweet caused a controversy. According to Jinshan Hong and Iain Marlow of bloomberg.com, the NBA lost almost all of its sponsors in China because of this incident.

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