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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump criticized the NBA's ties to China during a Fox Sports Radio interview on Tuesday, saying, "The way they catered to China, the way they bowed to China, is a disgrace."

Why it matters: China is one of the biggest international markets for the NBA, and its attempts to balance those business interests alongside criticism of the Chinese Communist Party's human rights abuses has been a flashpoint for the league in recent months.

  • Players this season were permitted to wear social justice messages on their jerseys, including "Black Lives Matter," but messaging about China was strictly prohibited, drawing a rebuke from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

The big picture: Trump also again criticized NBA players kneeling for the national anthem in protest of racial inequality, calling them "very, very nasty and, frankly, very dumb."

  • The president called NBA players "disgraceful" last week for kneeling during the anthem.
  • NBA star LeBron James responded: "I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball, we could care less."
  • Trump also had harsh words for the NFL's anthem protests: "If they don't stand for the national anthem, I hope they don't open."

Go deeper

The U.S.-China split in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and the U.S. don't collaborate in space —a decades-old divide that is shaping the future of both nations' space programs.

Why it matters: U.S. semiconductor companies and those in other sectors are under pressure — from politicians and consumers — to become less reliant on China. The record of the nations' parallel ambitions in space shows what the U.S. gains and loses when it cuts China off.

Nov 19, 2020 - Sports

NFL expands "intensive" coronavirus restrictions to all teams

Defensive end Arden Key and offensive tackle Sam Young at Allegiant Stadium on Nov. 1. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The NFL announced Wednesday that all 32 teams must follow the league's "intensive" coronavirus restrictions for the rest of the season starting this Saturday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after the Las Vegas Raiders placed seven more players on its coronavirus reserve list, bringing the total to 11, according to ESPN.

Hill votes will make global waves

President Biden addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

This epic week for President Biden on Capitol Hill is even bigger than his domestic agenda.

Why it matters: Biden has anchored his entire strategy for foreign affairs on the notion that "America is back." What that means in practice is that Biden needs to prove democracy works to rally America’s liberal allies against rising authoritarians.