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Report: How Much NBA Owners Have Invested In China

The NBA 75 logo is displayed on a basketball court.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 08: A diamond-themed logo commemorating the NBA's 75th anniversary is shown on the court during a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Detroit Pistons during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 8, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Thunder defeated the Pistons 76-72. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The NBA's business relationship with China has come under scrutiny. 

Before the playoffs began, China quietly brought NBA games back onto its airwaves following a three-year boycott in response to then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeting in solidarity of Hong Kong protestors.

Along with the league, many of its owners have business arrangements through China that gave them motivation to quell the conflict.

According to ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, NBA owners collectively have more than $10 billion of investments tied up in China. That's in addition to $5 billion the NBA derives from business with the country.

Brooklyn Nets owner Nets owner Joe Tsai, the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, has more than half of his net worth tied to China. Sacramento Kings co-owner Paul Jacobs and Robert Pera of the Memphis Grizzlies also have significant investments links,

Meanwhile, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison's cruise ship company, Carnival Corp., has a joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corp. The state-run company has close military ties and is described as "acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States."

"That's a pretty significant collaboration," Matt Schrader, a China analyst for the International Republican Institute, told ESPN. "It's one that would give Mr. Arison pretty significant incentives not to get crossways with the Chinese state or to be supporting any positions that might be objectionable."

Robert Kuhn, an adviser to Chinese political leaders and corporations operating in China, described the difficulties that U.S. organizations such as the NBA face when overlooking any human-rights violations.

"This is a significant issue and problem that American companies have," Kuhn said. "It's a tension between those two poles ... to see companies promoting social justice in the U.S. but staying silent on what would be perceived to be far worse issues in China. This is going to be an issue for the rest of our working lives."