China Find a Compromise


A couple of weeks before the start of the 2019-20 NBA regular season, the league finds itself involved in a controversy with China stemming from a now-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. In said tweet, Morey gave a message of support to protesters in Hong Kong who currently involve themselves in demonstrations that began in opposition to controversial proposed legislation.


On October fourth, Morey tweeted support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, which began in opposition of controversial legislation that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The protests, occurring due to fear of China’s communist regime, have since expanded. The tweet read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Morey’s tweet showing direct support for Hong Kong did not go over well with many Chinese officials, government leaders, and basketball figures.


The backlash to Morey’s tweet was felt immediately by the Rockets and the league. Many Chinese sponsors and entities have cut ties with the NBA, because they feel alienated by the “ignorance” of the NBA. Many of the NBA’s star players have aimed to calm the situation by “staying out of it.” LeBron James even went as far as to say Daryl Morey should be punished for his words.


“You know damn well if a player made the same statements and caused such poor ramifications for the league, there would be some sort of league recourse,” James said in a meeting with other players and commissioner Adam Silver. “There would be repercussions the player has to pay. You know, potentially this tweet could cost the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars. That could come out of the players’ pockets, and so that’s the double standard that was being addressed in that meeting,” James continued.


James also called Morey “uneducated,” on the issue, leading many to believe James only stands up for political issues when his financial interests do not get involved. Everyone still waits to see what kind of impact this will have on the salary cap, the NBA’s foreignism, and the popularity of the NBA as a whole.