I have nothing but contempt for the NBA and wish nothing upon it but abject failure. As an organization, it panders to insincere social movements at home while exporting its brand to some of the worst offenders of human rights abroad. With its individuals, the most spoiled and privileged human beings in history get on soapboxes to decry alleged systemic oppression. It cannot get more ignorant and pathetic than that.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom on the court. Trying times reveal a person’s character, and among the NBA’s woke efforts to piss on the flag and everything America stands for, desecrate the notion of private property and medical freedom, and erase the idea of basic human rights, three uniquely stand out.
Jonathan Issac stands for the national anthem.
As far back as last summer, Issac was the lone player on the entire court standing for the national anthem. What’s more, those same teammates and opponents wore pregame warmups with the euphemistic “Black Lives Matter” message (what it really represents is selfishness, jealousy, greed, ignorance, and anti-whiteness) in their kneeling, Issac stood tall and proud with his jersey showing.
When asked, Issac simply said that standing for the anthem was a matter of respect for a nation that has heretofore represented and provided freedom, opportunity, individuality, and opportunity. He said his belief in God gave him conviction, but also a sense of gratitude; America has offered him more wealth, status, privilege, and opportunity of which most humans can barely dream.
Kyrie Irving is forced to sit out after his resistance to the mandatory jabs.
Even though the NBA played a full season under the specter of a supposedly deadly disease, not a single player or affiliated employee died from it nor did any known cases develop to the point of actual concern. Professional basketball players, who are young and fit, are statistically at no risk for Covid complications.. They are, however, at risk for complications from an unnecessary, untested, and novel vaccine. At least one player’s season ended before it began after he developed vaccine-induced blood clots. How many more will we learn about later?
For obvious reasons, then, Kyrie Irving made a stance against the vaccine. After assessing his own risk, he decided the vaccine would not provide any benefits. There are obvious questions he has asked:
What good is the vaccine for him if he’s low risk? What good is the vaccine if it neither prevents acquiring the virus or transmitting it? What good is it if others, vaccinated or not, can still get it from him whether he’s vaccinated or not? Why would a player take unnecessary treatment? Why does someone else decide what goes into a person’s body?
Playing in New York, Kyrie was subjected to the harshest dictates in the country. As a result, he knowingly forfeited half his salary when he wouldn’t be allowed to play in home games. Later, the team sent him packing for the season. Kyrie has made megabucks playing in the NBA and does not need the money, but he nevertheless took a multi-million dollar stand and put his money where his mouth is.
Enes Kanter speaks forcefully and unapologetically against Muslim and Chinese leaders for systematic Uigher rape, torture, forced abortion, enslavement, and oppression.
The history of the NBA and China is fraught with hypocrisy and a willful blind eye for purposes of profits. While many instances abound, head coaches Steve Kerr and Greg Popivch have at different times pretended to feign ignorance on the subject of human rights abuses in China while being bloviating sellouts on the narrative of American systemic racism. LeBron James leads the charge on similar issues, falsely tweeting that cops “literally hunt black people” and even once tried to get an officer (that saved a black girl’s life, no less) doxxed while making movies for studios beholden to Chinese interests and repping for slave-labor-made Nike apparel. Former general manager Daryl Morey famously tweeted support for the now-dead Hong Kong freedom movement and forced his higher ups to grovel for forgiveness.
Enes Kanter is bringing a different and refreshing attitude to Chinese atrocities (as well as the rest of the Islamic world that ignores the plight of their Muslim brothers and sisters). In addition to wearing apparel that says “Free Tibet,” “Free China,” and “Freedom For Uyghur,” Kanter is boldly calling out all of the obvious suffering and death that everyone else pretends takes place in America. Good for him. (Author’s note: In reading the linked article above, I later learned that Rudy Gobert also stood up to the communist dictators and silent Muslim leaders. Good on Rudy as well.)
This was Kanter’s message:
“Right now as I speak this message, torture, rape, forced abortions, sterilizations, family separations, arbitrary detentions, concentration camps, political reeducation, forced labor… This is all happening right now to more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China.
“The Chinese government has been taking sweeping measures to crackdown on the Uyghur people simply because they embrace their own religion, their own culture, language, history and identity. The Uyghur region has become an open-air prison and surveillance state where freedoms are non-existent for the Uyghur people.
“The Chinese government has sent Uyghurs along with Kazaks, Tajiks and other Muslims groups to concentration camps for simply applying for a passport, for texting someone overseas or for believing in anything that does not align with the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda.
“All of us must spread the word and call on the Chinese government to free the Uyghur people. It’s so disappointing that the governments and leaders of Muslim-majority countries are staying silent while my Muslim brothers are getting killed, raped and tortured.
“I’m talking about you, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Saudi King Salman, United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. It’s shameful and sad how you’ve decided to prioritize money and business with China over human rights. You call yourselves Muslims but you are just using that for show. You simply do not care about people.
“And this goes out to fellow Muslim athletes as well. Why are you staying silent? Mohammed Salah, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Amir Khan … Say something. Do something. Speak up. Your silence, your inaction is complicit.
“Heartless dictator of China, Xi Jinping, and the Communist Party of China, I’m calling you out right now in front of the whole world. Close down the slave labor camps and free the Uyghur people. Stop the genocide now.”
In a perfect world, cultural icons would stick to their forte and not lecture us on areas of which they have almost zero knowledge or expertise. Basketball players would dribble, pass, dunk, and shoot; movie stars would play pretend really well on screen; Instagrammers would upload photos.
But, we don’t live in a perfect world and we shouldn’t count on people like this to stop pontificating. To that end, then, we need more outspoken advocates for truth, freedom, and actual human rights. We need more Jonathan Issacs. We need more Kyrie Irvings. We need more Enes Kanters.