Starting with Lebron James, that is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column. Here is one bit:
Third: Preface your “no comment” remarks with a patriotic platitude.
If someone asks James about the situation in China, it seems a little abrupt and dismissive for him to simply utter, “No comment.” Instead, it would be better for him to say something like this: “I am an American and I love my country. I do not have any comment on matters related to Chinese politics.”
At least then he or any other celebrity would be standing for something, albeit in a pretty empty way. They will sound less like vacuous money-grabbers and will provide some weak support for patriotic norms.
Granted, this may not be the most preferred response for the Chinese Communist Party. But the party won’t limit your shoe sales simply for saying you are an American patriot. It may even like the general idea of a celebrity promoting patriotism.
This is much more at the link, at least one part of the piece being tongue in cheek (though good advice nonetheless). This part is fully serious:
I do not think that corporations, or for that matter athletes, should be motivated by dollars alone.
In the meantime, I do not expect the Lakers to be a formidable force in the NBA this year.