China Suspends Ties With Rockets After Daryl Morey Tweet

A tweet by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has pushed the team into an international incident, explains an ESPN story.

The Chinese Basketball Association announced this morning that it will suspend cooperation with the Rockets after Morey expressed his support for protesters in Hong Kong who are demanding democratic reforms. Morey’s now-deleted tweet read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

On its Weibo account today, the CBA blasted Morey for “improper remarks regarding Hong Kong” and expressed “strong opposition” to his statement. The controversy comes as the Rockets are in Japan for a pair of games with the Raptors.

China has maintained a close relationship with the Rockets ever since current CBA Chairman Yao Ming was drafted by Houston in 2002. The Rockets wear an alternate jersey that features Chinese lettering, and James Harden conducted a promotional tour of the nation this summer.

China is also an extremely important market for the NBA as it expands its overseas popularity. It has become the nation’s most popular foreign sports league, with China playing host to the World Cup last month.

Among those reacting to Morey’s tweet when it appeared Friday was Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who stressed that the franchise should not serve as a platform for political views.

“Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the Houston Rockets,” Fertitta tweeted. “Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization.”

Fertitta stressed to ESPN that he still has full confidence in Morey as a GM and the incident won’t affect his job security.

“I have the best general manager in the league,” Fertitta said. “Everything is fine with Daryl and me. We got a huge backlash, and I wanted to make clear that the organization has no political position. We’re here to play basketball and not to offend anybody.”

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29 thoughts on “China Suspends Ties With Rockets After Daryl Morey Tweet

  1. 4thlegacy

    in other words… the Rockets will not support the human rights of a people who are being oppressed by a fascist communistic government because that fascist communistic government got mad at them… and Hardens step back is not a travel.

    • DuffManCometh

      Agreed 100%. Human rights should always be more important than foreign investment.

    • southbeachbully


      So what you’re saying is that anyone who does business with China is supporting the communust regime and we all should cease doing business with them? Right. Let me go thru your amazon shopping list and peek inside your closets and garage and see how many contradictions I’ll find.

      China owns large chunks of US dollars and debt. Let’s get real.

      The NBA should say that we can’t penalize players/management for their political opinions other than those that violate the written rules.

  2. amk3510

    Morey violated the golden rule. Don’t compromise international revenue. Looks like more games in India now!

    • specialfriedrice

      Yup, why does he think he has a payroll budget of 120+ million…not a smart move at all.

  3. madmanTX

    If only our elected halfwit leader would show as much concern for democracy in Hong Kong as Morey has. Screw Tillman and the NBA for not doing the same.

    • For The Best Purp(ose)

      lol what would you want PRESIDENT Trump to do? Start a war with China like most of our last “half wit” presidents would do? I applaud Morey for speaking out. I know the context for the statement wasn’t perfect. The CBA should promote freedom of speech for its colleagues.

  4. Morey is a very smart guy, so I’ll chalk up his ill-advised tweet to either (i) social media brain lock, or (ii) that he might have bought in to the fairy tale US business and political elites have been telling (and perhaps believing in) about China for 2 decades. Daryl, it’s like this MIT guy: they’re real live communists. Want the analytics? Risk: you and yours (including your employer, sister, nephew, etc.) are on one of their lists. Reward: ZERO. Believe it or not, twitter consensus isn’t meaningful to them.

  5. Otogar

    It’s highly unlikely that a guy as smart as Morey ignored the business ramifications of a Tweet like that. Don’t be too surprised if he ends up resigning (upon a lucrative secret agreement with the ownership, indeed) in the near future.

  6. driftcat28

    I hope Morey doubles down and sticks to his
    morals. The NBA should stand by him too

  7. harden-westbrook-mvps

    If they won’t be showing Rockets games in China this season does that mean they won’t be showing the NBA Finals there next June?

  8. nlikeflynn

    The NBA is part of the problem in China, they stand silently with the Chinese government in exchange for significant financial rewards.

    It’s also a shame that the athletes of the NBA basically do the same thing.

    • x%sure

      American businesses as a whole are complicit in building up what is more enemy than ally. And American customers of Amazon, Walmart, etc…. It would be nice if these resellers would tell you where their stuff is made but nobody except Morey wants to cross China.

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