Latest On NBA/China Controversy

As first reported by Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, there’s a growing concern that the exhibition games between the Lakers and Nets scheduled to take place in China on Thursday and Saturday this week will be cancelled as a result of tension between the NBA and the Chinese government.

As we’ve outlined in a series of stories, that tension stems from a tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors which was published – and quickly deleted – by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Since then, the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver have backed Morey’s freedom of expression, which has upset the league Chinese partners. The NBA has lost sponsors in China, while streaming company Tencent has suspended its broadcasts of all Rockets games and Chinese state-run TV network CCTV has said it won’t show this week’s Lakers/Nets exhibitions.

Of course, as noted above, there are an increasing number of signs that those games won’t actually take place. After an NBA Cares event with the Nets in Shanghai on Tuesday was cancelled by the Chinese government, a similar event with the Lakers was nixed on Wednesday, per an ESPN report. Additionally, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (video link) observes that banners advertising the Lakers/Nets games are being taken down in Shanghai.

Lakers and Nets players were scheduled to speak to reporters early this morning , but an NBA spokesperson announced that the media availability would be postponed, given the fluid nature of the situation, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

Here are a few more items on the NBA/China controversy:

  • After issuing an open letter earlier this week that was met with some criticism stateside for echoing language used by the Chinese government, Nets owner Joe Tsai briefly spoke to The New York Post and Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Tsai, who said he’s in the “eye of the storm” as he tries to help the NBA and China resolve the issue, noted that his role is to help both sides understand the other’s perspective. “What I’m simply pointing out is how mainland China feels about this issue,” Tsai said of his open letter. “It’s definitely a third-rail issue for Chinese people on the mainland.”
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich lauded Adam Silver for his comments on Tuesday in which he supported Daryl Morey‘s right to freedom of expression, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “It wasn’t easy for him to say,” Popovich said. “He said that in an environment fraught with possible economic peril. But he sided with the principles that we all hold dearly, or most of us did until the last three years. So I’m thrilled with what he said.”
  • When NBA players arrive in China, they’re generally treated like rock stars, but that hasn’t been the case for the Lakers this week, according to Tania Ganguli and Alice Su of The Los Angeles Times. As the Times duo writes, the Lakers were greeted with little fanfare when they landed in Shanghai, and have seen their plans for the week become “completely disheveled” as a result of the controversy.
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24 thoughts on “Latest On NBA/China Controversy

  1. sheff86

    That’s a lot of money the NBA is pushing back.
    I couldn’t see the NFL doing that. Wonder what Trump would say if it was the NFL.

  2. carlos15

    Silver and many of the NBA stars have simply chosen to support China and their oppression and human rights violations over freedom and democracy. It’s more do the right thing for my pocket book than do the right thing.

  3. amk3510

    Communist government oppressing its people, TV network won’t brodcast, and the very real possibility the game gets canceled. But that wont stop good ol Adam Silver from trying to go back next year. Thats Chinese money is just too important.

  4. snotrocket

    If Winnie the Pooh ends up dead because of this somebody is going to pay.

    • ChapmansVacuum

      He was strangled, an investigation is on currently. Piglets wherabouts are unknown but he is wanted for information. The NBA though they have Tegridy.

  5. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Maybe they just see through all of the hype surrounding the Lakers and the Nets after the expectations for both teams skyrocketed during the off-season.

  6. Pop is a guy with a picture of Che Guevara (an admirer of Mao) on his office wall. So, I’m not sure what his particular issue with China might be. He should stick to coaching basketball.

    Poor grades all around, really. Morey screwed up, and knows it. Silver is pathetic. Tsai was put in a tough spot, and should have kept quiet. Fertitta was put in a tough spot, and actually did OK (never thought I’d say that). Harden is excused – he’s young, and grew up in a culture immersed in a China delusion.

    Then again, maybe some good can come of it all, if the NBA people stop talking, and some others in business, entertainment and education start, beyond just feel good gestures of support for protesters. HK is just the canary in the coal mine.

        • ChapmansVacuum

          First paragraph he tries to paint Pop as a fan of China (a autocratic dictatorship), because he might have some views about Marxism or Che personally. Mao was part of the Great Leap Forward, and Cultural Revolution. He used his wife on the Gang of Four. Current China is run by Xi in a very similar way to Mao’s worst tendencies towards autocracy.

          Second paragraph claims Morey who was in the right screwed up. Calls Silver pathetic for backing free speech. Sympathizes with the one figure in the NBA with clear cut ties to Chinas leadership.

          He then seems to praise US companies for standing up. While diminishing real problems in Hong Kong being combated with very smart public demonstrating to maintain there freedoms. Hong Kong is the test case for China to see what they can do in Taiwan and all over the South China Sea. Not to mention things like abducting Women from Myanmar and other neighboring countries by the tens of thousands for forced marriges to compensate for the failed One Child policy and the 34M more men then women in China, and the 1:2:4 one child supporting 2 parents and 4 grandparents that China is about to hit with its aging population. We should all be speaking out about an emboldened China that is pushing its own interests, and leveraging autocracies it can control. China is moving in the direction of Cold War era US policy twoards Central and South America where we propped up dictators and right wing kill squads as long as they would fight any Communists that cropped up. We have a problem at the border now because of the instability and inequality we fostered in those countries in the 60-80s.

          • That’s your take? Comical and sad at the same time. You obviously didn’t understand much of what I wrote, or much about the subject matter you tried to address. Hopefully, for your sake, you’re young. Education is a life long experience.

          • x%sure

            I like your China stuff but I doubt DXC cares either way, is why I posted that. But maybe we should all care more, and try to stop making them rich leading to more influence. Posters have been encouraging some backbone. I managed to find an American-made infrared space heater, yay.

  7. x%sure

    China is China. I just want to be able to look up an item I might want to buy and be able to tell its country of manufacture. There are laws on this but they apparently do not apply to online purchasing or get enforced anyway.

  8. parkers

    The NBA along with the NFL is out front about their views on racial inequality or inequality in general.
    They have no problem pointing out the alleged misdeeds by law enforcement in the USA.
    Now the attempt by the main land to encroach on the treaty signed in 1999, giving Hong Kong the right to self rule within the one nation sphere, is a violation of the civil rights of Hong Kong citizens.
    It has the same moral violation by a stronger power over a weaker one, as the slave states and plantation owners had with black slaves.
    You would think these same people who have no problem maligning law enforcement here would pick up the Bataan even if it does cost them millions in future contracts.
    After all social justice demands standing for principal over economic wealth.
    I think that is what they protest large corporations over.
    I say show how principled you are and tell the Chinese you don’t care about the money and let them find another business to bully.

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