NNN – No New News – 7/29/2020 – Coaches at NBA’s basketball academies in China say they witnessed rampant player abuse

Report: Coaches at NBA’s basketball academies in China say they witnessed rampant player abuse

Jack Baer·WriterJuly 29, 2020·7 min read

WUQING, TIANJIN, CHINA - 2018/05/07: NBA China opened its first lifestyle center on April 25 in Tianjin.  The center covers 12,000 square meters and offers regulation-sized basketball courts, a basketball theme kid's center and an NBA retail store. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The NBA’s facilities in China reportedly featured awful conditions. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A fateful tweet about a free Hong Kong reportedly wasn’t the beginning of the NBA’s trouble with China in recent years.

Before Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sparked a firestorm in the NBA’s most lucrative international market, the league had encountered rampant problems at its three basketball academies in China, according to a blistering report from ESPN’s Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

Among the biggest reported issues were a culture of physical abuse by Chinese coaches, players not receiving proper education, brutal living conditions for players, police harassment of American coaches and one camp being located in the province of Xinjiang, where a million Uighur Muslims are being held in concentration camps as the Chinese government attempts to erase their culture. All of this was reportedly compounded by a lack of NBA oversight in an authoritarian country.

The NBA recently admitted it had closed its camp in Xinjiang after being pressed by a U.S. Senator, but declined to reveal why and did not indicate if it had also done so with its camps in Zhejiang and Shandong.

What went wrong with the NBA’s China academies

Opened with much fanfare in 2016, the NBA’s three Chinese academies were hailed by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as a place for elite Chinese basketball talent to be developed by NBA-trained coaches on and off the court.

The potential benefits of such an enterprise were obvious: A closer relationship with a country worth billions to the league and the development of even more Chinese NBA players. As the ESPN report notes, the NBA’s Chinese revenues exploded thanks to the career of Yao Ming, and league employees reportedly admitted the intention of the academies was to find the next Yao Ming.

What the NBA’s coaches saw along the way was reportedly shocking:

One requested and received a transfer after watching Chinese coaches strike teenage players, three sources told ESPN. Another American coach left before the end of his contract because he found the lack of education in the academies unconscionable: “I couldn’t continue to show up every day, looking at these kids and knowing they would end up being taxi drivers,” he said….Read the rest at Yahoo.com

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