The trouble that has flared up after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweeted to support the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, has seen the Chinese national broadcaster CCTV banning the pre-season games between LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.
CCTV has reportedly also indefinitely banned the broadcast of the Houston Rockets games. The Rockets incidentally are the most followed NBA team in China.
NBA has reportedly canceled all media access for the remainder of its exhibition games’ tour to China, claiming any face-up with the Press puts players in a “complicated” and “unfair” situation.
The announcement is made after CNN’s Christina Macfarlane was not allowed to ask a question by Houston Rockets’ media officer as she tried to ask James Harden and Russell Westbrook about the NBA‘s position with China during a Press conference in Tokyo.
“They (the teams) have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real-time,” NBA stated in a release.
All of the league’s official Chinese partners have suspended ties with the NBA as it comes to terms with the fallout of Morey’s tweet, which has since been deleted.
The LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets were to play their second and the last match in Shenzhen today (Saturday).
The league is reported have a presence worth $3.93 billion in China. Any escalation in the tension will cost the NBA and the player dearly as they have multi-million dollar sponsorship deals in the country.
NBA had committed to spend over $1.5 million on basketball infrastructure in China where over 30 crore people the sports across six lakh courts spread across the nation.
The prevailing trade tension between the USA and China is further hitting the NBA interest in the world’s second-largest economy really hard. The USA on Monday had placed
28 Chinese companies on a blacklist for allegedly facilitating human rights violations. Chinese smartphone giant Huawei was blacklisted earlier this year, while Washington has placed billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods since 2018.