Rich Lowry / November 30, 2021

The King of Hypocrisy

Lebron James doesn’t hesitate to air his views so long as they are comfortably within the fashionable woke consensus.

Nike’s latest TV ad is another slick paean to individual empowerment and prevailing despite the naysayers.

Centered around Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant, the commercial features various people doubting that Morant can keep up his stellar play, to which someone always cheekily replies, “Says who?”

Yes, Nike believes anything is possible — so long as it doesn’t involve doing anything to cross one of the world’s most hideously repressive regimes.

The grotesque hypocrisy of the Nike-NBA industrial complex and its biggest star, Lebron James, has been underlined in recent weeks by Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter, who has been on a one-man crusade against the Chinese Communist Party and those too cowardly or greedy to call it out.

James — the owner of four NBA championship rings who has appeared in a jaw-dropping 10 NBA finals — has views on all sorts of public controversies and doesn’t hesitate to air them so long as they are comfortably within the fashionable woke consensus.

On China, though, he’s mute. So are his employers. They all portray themselves as champions of social justice and of courage and striving, but their commitment to these causes and values stops at the water’s edge — and at their bottom line.

When a couple of years ago, the Houston Rockets general manager got thrown under the bus by the NBA for tweeting in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, King James pronounced him “not educated on the situation.”

The Lakers forward affirmed a right to free speech — thanks, GOAT! — but said we have to be careful what we say. “So many people,” he warned, “could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

Never has so much harm been attributed to a small message of public support for plucky idealists about to be steamrolled by a totalitarian government.

During the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, by the way, James mocked Rittenhouse’s tears on the stand, doubting they were real — apparently because he’s an expert on what constitutes genuine signs of post-traumatic stress.

If Rittenhouse had control over whether a vast market would be open to James and the corporations he’s affiliated with, the Lakers star surely would have stayed silent.

When Kanter tweeted, “Money over Morals for the ‘King,’” and wore sneakers portraying James bowing down to get crowned by Chinese dictator Xi Jinping for a Celtics-Lakers game, James brushed it off. He accused Kanter of “trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself.”

Actually, Kanter’s activism, calling out his league and a massively influential corporation, is what everyone says they value — a lonely, unwelcome campaign against well-heeled interests too compromised to defy a powerful entity perpetrating rank injustices.

After Nike got blowback in China for a relatively anodyne statement expressing concern about forced labor in Xinjiang — the epicenter of the regime’s repression of the Uyghurs — the company’s CEO said Nike is “a brand of China and for China.”

Nike lobbied Congress to weaken an anti-forced-labor bill, lest a measure aimed at crimping a vast human-rights abuse discomfit the corporate giant too greatly.

“Says who?” the new Nike ad asks. Clearly, the Chinese regime.

“You can’t stop us,” intoned a viral ad last year. Well, actually you can, provided you are an authoritarian bully with an enormous consumer base.

“Just do it” went the most iconic Nike ad. No, second thought, better to “Just don’t” if it might anger a government that disappeared a star athlete for the offense of accusing an official of sexual assault and is preparing to invade a neighboring country.

If China were to take Taiwan, would the NBA, Nike or Lebron James do anything more than offer vague expressions of concern and piffle about how the situation is complicated?

We certainly know what Enes Kanter would say. Which is why he rightly deserves a Nike ad celebrating his go-it-alone truth-telling, and why, of course, he’ll never get one.

© 2021 by King Features Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.