I don’t follow basketball. I haven’t had any interest in it at all since I was a teenager, when I basically tried to be interested in it, but eventually discovered that I don’t like it all that much. I’m aware of it, as part of the cultural landscape, as entertainment news, or whatever. I’m not sure if I could name twenty players in the NBA right now, nor would I even be interested in trying.
But I know who LeBron James is. I mean, who doesn’t?
I don’t want to write about basketball, or a basketball player. Not at all. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about this particular basketball player these past few days.
Last week, I mentioned Rihanna, and her refusal to perform at the Superb Owl Halftime Show because she’s friends with Colin Kaepernick. I compared her stance to that of Jay-Zed, who has entered into a potentially lucrative partnership with the NFL, and I said that Rihanna has more integrity than Jay-Zed when it comes to this issue.
I want to make something clear.
The NFL is a pretty cruddy organization. Despite a shit-ton of PR, and a lickspittle sports media that trades cooperation for access, everyone pretty much knows that the league’s record… excuse me… CURRENT record (as in RIGHT NOW) on player safety, racism, violence against women, etc., is extremely shitty.
That said, the NFL is not a country… sorry… TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP with a horrible reputation for human rights abuses, which includes silencing its own people by any means necessary, should said people do so much as criticize the regime.
China is a huge market. The NBA wants access to that market. In the US, there is supposed to be freedom of speech; in China, there is not. China has made it clear that if the NBA wants to do business with China, no one associated with the league is permitted to say anything negative about China.
LeBron James is a millionaire many, many times over. He makes millions in salary, and many millions more through his many business ventures and partnerships. However, this week, he made it clear that he values access to China’s economy over freedom.
Those are just the facts.
I think it’s disgusting.
KC at Denver
One of these teams started 4-0, the other 0-4. However, they currently seem to be trending in opposite directions, and now they are not as far apart as some might think. Denver is 2-4, but could easily be 4-2, having lost two excruciatingly close games. In notching their first two wins, their defence seems to have finally started playing at the high level I thought they would. KC has lost two in a row, but it could very well have been three or even four in a row. They won a shootout with Baltimore, then were lucky to beat a Detroit team that had outplayed them for most of the game, before being thoroughly dominated first by Indy, then last week by Houston. The main culprit in KC’s losses has been their defence, which can’t seem to generate much of a pass rush, and can’t stop the run. Compounding the problems for KC is injuries on the OL, which is making things difficult for Patrick Mahomes. Sure, Mahomes can still do more than most QBs anyway, but it’s been difficult for him to do much the past two weeks with his arse stuck on the bench for large chunks of time while opponents gash KC’s defence on the ground, and when he’s under siege when he finally does get onto the field.
I think that the combination of Denver’s defence and RB Phillip Lindsay, plus KC’s terrible defence and OL woes, equals an excellent opportunity for Denver at home.
(And, if my column gets shut down for some reason, you'll know why.)