Sports Business Journal recently estimated that the NBA’s presence in China is worth $5 billion to the league.
Nike, with [Lebron] James as a primary spokesman in China, received 17% of its $37.2 billion in brand revenue from Greater China in fiscal 2019…James also has served Tencent as a spokesperson, consultant and endorser of the NBA 2K League in China.
From a marketing expert who knows China:
“The NBA is nothing but good; it provides entertainment, keeps people busy, gives them something to talk and be passionate about, and if they’re doing all that, they’re not on the streets complaining about the government.”
And to close the joke:
Said [Bill] Bishop, referencing the pingpong diplomacy that initiated a warming of relations between the countries back in the early 1970s: “One of the jokes going around is U.S.-China engagement started with pingpong and ended with basketball.”