National Basketball Association postpones Shanghai press event amid worsening spat with China

Houston Rockets Address Controversial Tweet From Team’s GM

China suspends relationship with Houston Rockets after GM tweets support for Hong Kong protests

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he's still planning to go to China on Wednesday in advance of preseason games there between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets later in the week.

The controversy between the National Basketball Association and China continues to swirl as the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets prepare for a pair of exhibition games in the country.

More details as it becomes available. Morey promptly deleted the tweet and team owner Tilman Fertitta tried to minimize the damage in China by saying his general manager "does NOT speak for the Houston Rockets".

"Houston Rockets General Manager Morey publicly made an inappropriate comment related to Hong Kong", it said on Weibo.

The post was later deleted and 47-year-old Morey, the NBA's executive of the year last year, said his views did not represent the team or league. The country's basketball association is headed by former Rockets star Yao Ming and described Morey's tweet as "improper remarks regarding Hong Kong".

"Basketball is wildly popular in China and those two teams - largely because of LeBron James starring for the Lakers and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's co-founder Joe Tsai now owning the Nets - would have nearly certainly been a huge television draw".

And caught in the middle is Nets owner Joe Tsai, who lives in Hong Kong and is on the board of NBA China, but also owns an NBA team - one whose preseason games have been taken off Chinese TV and are in jeopardy. Basketball is wildly popular in China and those two teams - largely because of LeBron James starring for the Lakers and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's co-founder Joe Tsai now owning the Nets - nearly certainly would have been a huge television draw.

"There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear", Silver said.

"As a lifelong @HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call out the Chinese Communist Party's repressive treatment of protesters in Hong Kong", Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, said on Twitter.

Speaking to Kyodo News, Silver said: "There are the values that have been part of this league from its earliest days, and that includes free expression".

Several of the team's sponsors and partners in China, including the state broadcaster China Central Television and the livestreaming platform Tencent Sports, announced on Sunday that they would no longer broadcast Rockets games.

"How can it be possible to carry out exchanges and cooperation with China without knowing China's public opinion?" Its apology on Sunday disappointed some who see the league as the most progressive of the USA sports organizations, while Silver's support for Morey's right to speak his mind has left the league vulnerable in China.

Silver also acknowledged that it "is inevitable that people around the world - including from America and China - will have different viewpoints over different issues. But for those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business".

"I think as a values-based organisation that I want to make it clear. that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression", he told the news agency.

Latest News