NBA’s Abu Dhabi Money Grab

The league is going to the UAE.

You cannot blame the National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver, his staff and the 30 league owners for looking anywhere and everywhere around the globe to make some money, even if that place doesn’t exactly subscribe to what the league puts out as its policy. The NBA is sending two teams, the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks, to the United Arab Emirates to play two pre-season games on October 6th and 8th in Abu Dhabi. The games mean the NBA is just another business heading to a country where there seems to be a lot of entertainment money to be made. The Professional Golf Association holds events in Dubai and Dubai is also a stop for tennis’  ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour. So it makes sense for the NBA to follow the money and bring its entertainment form to the Emirates. But there is also something else, the NBA has been a major support of gay and lesbian rights. That does not align with Emirates.  Homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by the death penalty under sharia law.

On February 23rd, 2014, Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in a game in the United States’ four major professional sports  leagues. In May 2013, Collins revealed he is gay. “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m Black. And I’m gay. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.” The NBA was very supportive of Collins. The NBA also owns half of the Women’s National Basketball Association where about 25 percent of the league’s players are members of the LGBTQ community.  The NBA may preach one way in North America but when money talks, nobody walks.

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Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden reacts during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)