Contrary to what some pundits would have you believe, the NBA is not in lockstep heaping praise on the Chinese government in an effort to make money. But one NBA team in particular has felt the consequences of a player going against the nation's zero-tolerance policy on criticizing them.
According to the New York Times, the Boston Celtics have been pulled from China's internet following comments made by Celtics center Enes Kanter. The 29-year-old center recently took to social media and referred to People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping as a "brutal dictator."
The Chinese government is notoriously sensitive to criticism - warranted or not - and apparently moved quickly yet again. It's going to be tough for the NBA to get Celtics games shown again unless someone apologizes.
But knowing Enes Kanter, that won't be happening anytime soon.
Kanter is no stranger to political activism. He's been highly critical of Turkey's president Recep Erdoğan, and has even had a warrant placed for his arrest in his home country.
The NBA has been criticized for years - exclusively by bad faith grifters - for being at the beck and call of China. And in fairness, the NBA has been overly harsh on some executives who have criticized the regime.
Given the size of the nation's economy, it's understandable why anyone would walk on eggshells there.
But the issue of the NBA's relationship with China isn't one that can be resolved with a sternly worded letter.
Enes Kanter may be the biggest voice in the NBA willing to be critical of the Chinese regime, but he won't be the only one.