Last Friday, Rockets GM Daryl Morey had the nerve to express his support for the millions of pro-democracy protesters who have taken to the streets of Hong Kong over the past few months by sending out a now-deleted tweet that inadvertently sparked an international incident.
The backlash was swift and immediate, as the Chinese Basketball Association quickly announced it was cutting ties with the Rockets. In an attempt to save face, James Harden issued a personal apology and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta threw Morey under the bus before the NBA decided to do the same thing.
However, commissioner Adam Silver would eventually reverse course ever so slightly after he issued a statement in which he implicitly expressed his support for Morey by saying everyone affiliated with the NBA should be free to speak their mind without having to worry about retaliation from the league.
It’s safe to say the Chinese government wasn’t exactly thrilled with this new development, as the country’s state-run network CCTV announced it will immediately stop broadcasting preseason games played in China in response to Silver’s comments (it also criticized his relationship with Japan just for good measure).
The announcement came shortly after China essentially banned South Park, which resulted in Trey Parker and Matt Stone throwing some shade in the NBA’s direction.
Silver said he’ll be making a trip to Shanghai to attend the matchup between the Lakers and the Nets and hopes that he’ll be able to speak to officials there in an attempt to sort out their differences (although he admitted that might be easier said than done).
I wish him—and the people in Hong Kong—the best of luck.