President Donald Trump has finally waded into the growing controversy between the NBA and China, but it’s not the Chinese he’s going after.
Trump ripped Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for their responses to the growing controversy, with both taking a more neutral stance toward the NBA’s handling of Rockets GM Daryl Morey speaking in support of Hong Kong.
Pres. Trump criticizes NBA coaches Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich's statements on China amid backlash over tweet supporting Hong Kong protests.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 9, 2019
Donald Trump on NBA's response to China: "I watched this guy, Steve Kerr. He was like a little boy who was so scared to be answering the question. He couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking. . I watched Popovich do sort of the same thing. But he didn’t look quite as scared."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 9, 2019
Asked if he's okay with how China is pressuring the NBA, Trump says they have to work out their own situation. He returns to criticizing Kerr and Gregg Popovich, another critic, though he says Popovich seemed less scared of the subject.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 9, 2019
Trump did not have anything to say about commissioner Adam Silver, Morey, or the NBA as a whole. That likely has to do with the fact that it’s been Kerr and Popovich who have been vocally critical of Trump in the past. It’s also worth noting that many Republicans have been very critical of the NBA’s response to the China issue, but Trump, to date, has only brought up the two head coaches.
For what it’s worth, Warriors guard Stephen Curry found the whole thing hilarious.
Steph Curry: “Just heard about the Trump thing. Gotta welcome Steve to the club.”
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 9, 2019
With the issue only escalating with new events, this is going to stick around for a while. It may not be the last time we hear from Trump on it — or at least something somewhat related to it.