International Business Times: LA Clippers' Sterling Racist Comments Threaten NBA's China Market


The Donald Sterling scandal is reverberating across the globe, reaching as far as China, the NBA’s biggest market outside of the U.S.

The fallout from the phone conversation recordings that were released by TMZ last week, on which Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is heard making racist remarks, has overshadowed the NBA playoffs in China and prompted heated reactions from the 300 million-plus community of basketball fans and players in China. As of last year, the NBA had more than 52 million followers on the Sina Weibo and Tencent microblogs, the Chinese equivalents of Twitter. On Weibo, many Clipper fans and basketball fans alike fired back at Sterling.

“Disappointing for Clippers fans to hear such terrible comments from owners,” a blogger and self-described member of China’s "Clipper Nation" said online.

“Re-post to support the team NOT Sterling,” the microblogger added, attaching a photo of the Clippers' starting lineup with the caption, “Say No to Racism: we Clipper Nation here in China will always support our players, not Donald Sterling.”

Others were less kind.......

Though China’s decade-in-the-making NBA fan base won’t likely abandon the league over Sterling’s remarks, it’s clear that Chinese fans are are siding with the players.

In a country where religion is often condemned, worshipping NBA players may be the closest thing to religious observance for some fans. Eddie Huang, a Taiwanese-American author, restaurateur and basketball-enthusiast, wrote for ESPN about LeBron James' visit to Chengdu last summer. At the time, he wrote, the Chinese “love them some basketball.”

“When LeBron James comes to the Middle Kingdom, it becomes abundantly clear that Jesus is in fact African-American," he wrote. 

Please read more in the International Business Times.

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