During a podcast interview with Megyn Kelly on Monday, billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban said when it comes to taking money from China, he has no hesitation.
Criticism of the NBA, its owners, and its players reached a fever pitch over the summer as teams opted to go all-in for social justice in the wake of the police-involved killing of George Floyd. Many noted that the league was engaging in hypocrisy as hundreds of millions of dollars flowed directly to the NBA from communist-controlled China, a place under global scorn for human rights atrocities and imprisonment and genocide of the Muslim Uyghurs.
But Cuban brushed off China's targeting of minorities for torture and destruction, saying on the Megyn Kelly Show that he "personally put a priority on domestic issues," not those happening in other places.
Kelly pushed Cuban, reminding him that at least 1,000,000 Uyghur men, women, and children in China had been targeted by the Chinese Communist Party and forced into slave labor, reeducation camps, and even tortured and killed for their religious beliefs.
But Cuban wouldn't specifically condemn atrocities happening in China, only saying that he condemned any human rights violation happening anywhere in the world. The conversation became increasingly volatile as Cuban evaded the question and then tried to blame President Trump for not allowing more political refugees to enter the country.
Kelly is no fool, however, and quickly pivoted the conversation back to Cuban and his refusal to condemn or disavow China.
"Why would the NBA take $500 million from a country engaging in ethnic cleansing?" Kelly demanded. Cuban's hostility toward Kelly rang clear as he snapped back his answer.
"They are a customer of ours, and guess what, Megyn?" Cuban asked. "I'm OK with doing business with China." He went on to say that he didn't want to deal with the "troll bots" by making a public declaration against China and congratulated himself for devoting his own "resources" to discover through the State Department how many Chinese refugees were attempting to seek shelter in the United States.
"I wish I could solve all the world's problems," Cuban lamented while firmly refusing to disavow a nation guilty of murdering their own people. "But I can't. We have to pick our battles."
.@MegynKelly: “Why would the the NBA take $500+ million from a country engaging in ethnic cleansing?” @MCuban: “Becuz they are a customer of ours, & guess what Megyn? I’m okay w/ doing business with China...We have to pick our battles.”— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) October 12, 2020
Starts at 41:35.https://t.co/4XvwANbv64
Kelly also hammered Cuban on the low NBA ratings for the year and the record low number of viewers for the NBA Finals. Cuban defended the numbers, saying that their primary audience, the young "Gen Z," doesn't have access to live television.
Certainly, the lowered ratings had nothing to do with the politics that oozed from the NBA throughout the season, Cuban asserted.
Kelly called out that ridiculous explanation, specifically noting the widespread complaints from NBA fans that they were tired of the woke politics in the league. And even with the change from live broadcast television into streaming, the numbers were really bad.
"It's lower than I expected, too," Cuban admitted. "But I'm telling you the whole thing about politics is nonsense."
The #NBAFinals came to an end last night - Mark Cuban and @MegynKelly discuss the reason the ratings for the Finals were down compared to previous years.— The Megyn Kelly Show (@MegynKellyShow) October 12, 2020
Listen below, and subscribe/download here: https://t.co/F96HgI7HIW pic.twitter.com/msbPZoKJcT
Even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the league would move away from the social justice messaging and politically charged on-court behavior next season.
"My sense is there will be some sort of return to normalcy," Silver said last week. "That those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor. And I understand those people who are saying 'I'm on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.'"