The NBA has become perhaps the biggest platform by which woke causes are amplified in the world of sports. However, that same NBA just agreed to a multi-year deal that will schedule preseason games in a country that is extremely hostile to progressive agendas.
On Tuesday, the NBA agreed to terms with Abu Dhabi's DCT (Department of Culture and Tourism) that will allow NBA preseason games to be played in the United Arab Emirates' second-most populated city for the next several years, starting with games between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks scheduled for Oct. 6 and 8.
While the deal is likely set to earn the NBA millions, it certainly raises the question of how important their company’s values really are.
For example, the NBA has championed voting rights and LGBTQ rights for the past several years.
When Georgia passed a bill in March of 2021 that would increase integrity in the voting process in elections, the NBA used their platform to raise awareness for voting rights during the All-Star game in Atlanta that same week.
They also moved the location of the 2017 NBA All-Star game from Charlotte, NC when the state passed HB2 into law, restricting people in government buildings to using only the restrooms that correspond with their birth gender. The league said the rule violated the NBA's core values of “diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others.”
If these issues are near and dear to the NBA’s heart, they should never have scheduled games in the UAE.
The UAE considers it an offense punishable by death to be homosexual, and voter rights are an afterthought. Within each emirate, the senators decide who can vote and who cannot, and some women can only vote if they get approval from their guardian.
If the NBA really cared about any of these issues, the last place it would try to grow their game globally would be the UAE. But then again, the NBA has never been an organization that sets a sterling example of following its convictions - especially when a lot of money is on the line.