Daryl Morey’s tweet about protesters in Hong Kong upset with mainland China may not see him get any formal punishment, but the NBA’s relationship with Chinese basketball officials does seem to be at least temporarily damaged.
On Friday, Morey tweeted out support for protesters in Hong Kong, a move that was met with outrage from many in communist China, especially in the government and Chinese Basketball Association. The association “suspended cooperation” with the NBA over the weekend in response to the tweet, and the Rockets and NBA then scrambled to smooth things over between the two parties.
The Rockets have a long relationship with China, as Yao Ming’s time on the team brought a lot of international attention to the franchise and, as a result, a lot of fans. Morey’s tweet upset those in the Chinese government, including Ming, who serves as the CBA president. Ming demanded an apology over the weekend, only making things worse for the Rockets general manager.
It led to a lot of apologetic messaging from the Rockets, whose owner stressed that Morey did not speak for the team itself. But some damage was done in the form of cancelled exhibitions between the CBA and two NBA G League teams, including Houston’s G League affiliate. On Monday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the CBA had nixed two games scheduled to take place in China next month.
Sources: In response to social media events over weekend, China (Chinese Basketball Association) has canceled NBA G League’s planned exhibition games between Rockets affiliate (Rio Grande Valley) and Dallas Mavericks affiliate (Texas) scheduled later this month in China.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 7, 2019
Morey has apologized for the tweet and that it offended those in China, and other NBA team owners have spoken out about the tweet and the potential negative impact it can have on the relationship between the NBA and China. It seems like the Rockets and the NBA are very eager to repair things between the two sides and Chinese basketball, but right now the Association doesn’t appear satisfied just yet.