Late last week, Nike CEO John Donahoe inadvertently explained the difference between NBA legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Donahoe described the shoe brand's commitment to China.
"Nike is a brand that is of China and for China," said Donahoe, who joined Nike in January 2020. According to Yahoo News, Donahoe spent his first weeks as CEO "scoping out Nike's operations in China."
The Bible and common sense have spoken authoritatively on the Portland, Oregon-founded and based company's dilemma.
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." —Matthew 6:24
Nike cannot serve America and China. It has chosen its master, and it is not us.
China is a communist-run, authoritarian, racist country. America is (or has been) a democratic republic pursuing freedom and fairness. You can't be of China and for China and serve America.
For the past decade, American sports fans, sports writers, and sports broadcasters have debated the on- and off-court differences between 1990s NBA superstar and Nike pitchman Michael Jordan and 2010s NBA superstar and Nike pitchman LeBron James.
The off-court difference could not be more clear. Jordan spoke for Nike when the company was a brand of America and for America. James speaks for the company that now serves China.
Keep in mind, Nike is Jordan's and James' primary employer. The $40-billion-a-year shoe company pays Jordan and James far more than the $8-billion-a-year NBA. The reality is the NBA is the marketing department of Nike. The NBA's main purpose is to sell sneakers in general and Nike's in particular. No other major sports league is as dependent on and under the control of a single sponsor as the NBA is to Nike.
Former NBA commissioner David Stern is credited with hatching the league's plan to take the game international. The truth is Nike founder Phil Knight devised the plan. After conquering the U.S. market, Knight wanted to colonize and overtake China.
"We've always taken a long-term view," Donahoe told Wall Street analysts on Thursday. "We've been in China for over 40 years. Phil (Knight) invested significant time and energy in China in the early days and today we're the largest sports brand there."
Knight instructed Stern to prioritize international growth. That's why the NBA has had zero interest in preserving and protecting college basketball. America's college stars do not resonate in China. Unlike the NFL, which benefits from the ready-made stars that enter the league from college, the NBA hasn't authentically supported rules that would keep its future players on college campuses for three or four years.
But let me get back to Jordan and James.
Michael avoided politics because the American market was still important to Nike during his heyday. LeBron is an anti-American, far-left political activist because that messaging serves China, Nike's master.
Of course, you've been led to believe James is outspoken on police shootings because he's a voice for voiceless poor and working-class black people. James is Nelson Mandela in gym shorts, according to Nike and corporate media.
James is a businessman doing business with Nike. So are Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, and all the other multi-millionaire woke warriors.
Let me tell you which poor and working-class black people have no voice: The parents of young men slaughtered daily by random gang violence. Who speaks for them?
Ben Crump? Al Sharpton? Black Lives Matter? Don Lemon? Van Jones? Joy Reid? Anderson Cooper? Antifa? Kamala Harris? Barack Obama? Colin Kaepernick? Charlamagne tha God? John Legend? Cardi B? Maxine Waters? Nancy Pelosi? Shaun King? Jemele Hill? Max Kellerman?
Who? Anyone you see regularly on a national platform?
The police kill on average approximately 250 black people (and 450 white people) per year. According to Statista, in 2019, approximately 14,000 Americans were murdered and 7,500 of the victims were black.
The 250 black people killed by police have about 250 national spokesmen appearing on television weekly. Who do the 7,500 murder victims have?
I'll wait here as you Google an answer. Let me give you a hint. LeBron James' name ain't gonna pop up.
China doesn't allow it. China is a racist country that has no use for black people who can't sing, dance, or dunk a basketball at the very highest level. This is an open secret. American-based global corporations know how China treats black and brown people.
This is personal for me. A former Ball State football player (my alma mater) spent more than two years in Chinese prisons on bogus assault charges. Look up the story of Wendell Brown. While you're at it, look up the story of Jeff Harper, the former Iowa Wesleyan basketball player who spent five months in a Chinese prison because he came to the defense of a Chinese woman being assaulted on the streets by a Chinese man.
Nike, the NBA, LeBron James, and countless other American businesses and businessmen are trying to serve two masters – America and China. Guess which master they hate.