Andrew Bogut has copped plenty of heat from people in China over a tweet he made about swimmer Sun Yang. Picture: Getty Images
Andrew Bogut has copped plenty of heat from people in China over a tweet he made about swimmer Sun Yang. Picture: Getty Images

Threats to Bogut so bitter tweet

A somewhat harmless joke on Twitter turned me into public enemy No.1 in China. 

Mid this year I made a joke on social media about previously sanctioned drug cheat Sun Yang.

This 'harmless' joke had thrown an endless barrage of death threats, sexual violence threats and vile abuse you wouldn't spew to your worst enemy.

Oh, not just to me, but also my wife and kids.

"NMSL" was the standout of my mentions for months on social media.

I believe the acronym translates to something along the lines of "Your Mother will die".

The other thing which was alarming was the absolute detail of some of these death threats.

To top it off the ordeal had somewhat been turned by Chinese media and fans alike as a Bogut v China war.

Andrew Bogut has copped plenty of heat from people in China over a tweet he made about swimmer Sun Yang. Picture: Getty Images
Andrew Bogut has copped plenty of heat from people in China over a tweet he made about swimmer Sun Yang. Picture: Getty Images

This is something I was dealing with leading up to a FIBA World Cup,  in China.  

The ramifications of that tweet weren't just as easy as turning off social media and ignoring the threats.

I had a few sponsorship arrangements which all of a sudden had gone curiously quiet. One example - I had agreed through Basketball Australia to promote a packaging and logistics company based out of Queensland who sponsored the Boomers. 

One might ask what a company in Queensland would have to do with China?

Anyhow, I received communication a few days before the shoot that they had demanded swapping me with somebody else on the team.

I thought this was pretty strange so I pressed the issue and tried to find out why.

I was told my tweet was too controversial for them. Reading between the lines they had most likely received a call from the big boss in China which told them to say bye bye to yours truly. 



Not a big deal on the grand scale of things, but just a small example of the long arm of the law when it comes to business in China.

In saying that I did not hear from the company any further, and I can only hope they do not support drugs in sport. 

Once in China I decided to play the villain role and show how much I was enjoying it by taking snaps with fans at every chance I had.

Funnily enough every Chinese basketball fan I encountered at the hotel, or simply going to a shopping mall or restaurant, were very nice and hospitable.

I had no issues outside of the basketball court. 

Things changed dramatically once in the arena. As anyone watching would concur, every time I touched the ball I was booed (which at the start most people thought were cheers!).

It got worse game to game. Walking off the court at half times and after every game was a hilarious exercise in trying to translate abusive broken English. 

The gist was usually something about my wife, something about my mum, and something about me.


Andrew Bogut after the loss to Spain in the semi-finals of the FIBA World Cup in China. Picture: Getty Images
Andrew Bogut after the loss to Spain in the semi-finals of the FIBA World Cup in China. Picture: Getty Images

Not too pleasant, but as they say when you travel abroad, it's always good to experience different kinds of culture.

The only serious moment was during one of the games when someone from the crowd had thrown a bolt at me.

It grazed my shoe whilst I was sitting on the bench. I survived, had a chuckle and got on with it. Remember, all because of a tweeted joke.  

Moving on from my fantastic voyage of China and not too soon after arriving back to Australia the infamous tweet from Daryl Morey, the General Manager of the Houston Rockets, was posted.

What an absolute whirl wind few weeks for the NBA! When I first saw the tweet, I immediately let Daryl know to be ready for the "NMSL" flooding all his social media pages will receive every minute of the day, for a good month.  

This brought along a whole different news cycle that was foreign to me.

We actually had a political issue that no celebrity or professional athlete wanted to comment on. Yes, you heard right, a political issue that no one in the public eye wanted to touch.  

I took a somewhat different stance when the general public were calling out athletes and celebrities alike for hypocrisy by not wanting to comment in fear of losing money.

Is it hypocritical? I would more than likely agree. Do they have to comment on everything? No, which is also their right.BUT if we are being honest? Don't give me the "I'm not well educated enough on the topic" or "I don't know enough about the situation".  Just tell the truth.





That truth would go something like this: "I wish not to comment on the matter as I don't want to hinder any of my future earning potential coming from China." 

People would not have to like it, but they would have to respect the truth. You can't sell the "I don't know" answer when you comment or get involved in almost every political issue under the sun.

Not in 2019, where you could within one hour read up on what's going on from both points of view, and form an opinion.

Your opinion. The NBA has obviously done a lot of business in China over the last 20 odd years. They should be commended at how well much they have instilled the NBA into the everyday lives of one of the biggest populations of Earth.

The NBA is clearly number one for fan support in China, and I don't think it is even close for second. The people there love Basketball, and you can clearly see their love and appreciation for NBA athletes. 

I have spoken to numerous friends of mine around the globe about this, and one NBA writer I chatted to about the trending topic in particular said something very interesting.

He said as pissed as China is about the Daryl Morey post, and all the follow up since regarding Hong Kong, he thinks the Chinese Government might not even have the nerve to wipe the NBA off their TV for good. 

Millions upon millions of people rely on the NBA not just for entertainment, but for everyday life.

Is it possible that communism could be thwarted by the NBA?

That said, I think the NBA is too far into China to pull out, and vice versa. I believe things will simmer down, as they already have started to.

NBA players can also rest assured those off-season five day promo trips that add a truck load of zero's into the old bank account will be on like they always were. Just don't mention Hong Kong.  

I'll leave you with this. My late grandfather Mile Bogut escaped Communist Yugoslavia many moons ago to give his family, and in turn me, a better life. I am well versed from personal accounts of what went on in those regimes. One thing I know for sure, my grandfather would be smiling down on me knowing that I riled up many so many people that were from the very regime he risked his life to get away from.

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