The NBA has backed itself into a corner in recent days in the aftermath of a tweet sent out by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Morey’s tweet has since been deleted, but in response, the Chinese government has gotten involved, and the league has weighed how to handle drawing the ire of powerful people in both China and the United States.
Plenty of American politicians have tweeted their dismay towards how the NBA has handled all of this, while in China, things have escalated quickly. Games and events occurring in the country have been canceled, while the Chinese Basketball Association has suspended operations with the Rockets, a serious move considering the league’s president is former Houston All-Star Yao Ming.
The big question now is whether a pair of exhibition games involving the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will go on as scheduled. Amid all the craziness that has occurred in recent days, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly sat down with a handful of players who are abroad, and according to Rachel Nichols, they were not happy.
The latest from Shanghai – players are getting frustrated, and no one knows if Thursday's Lakers-Nets game is really going to happen. pic.twitter.com/qsH7lCG97x
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 9, 2019
“Players got the chance to ask Adam Silver directly today,” Nichols said. “I’m told in that meeting that he informed the players the NBA intends to go forward, and in turn, some of them expressed their frustration at being put in this position. They didn’t feel comfortable talking to the media because they didn’t want to answer the questions they’d inevitably be asked, and they really felt like they were being put in a bad position with the fans.”
Nichols mentioned that players have found all of this “frustrating,” as goodwill events have been canceled, the arena where they were supposed to practice “had to be moved because the arena suddenly wasn’t available,” and signage for the games have been taken down around Shanghai. Additionally, Nichols mentioned that fan support has been depressed compared to past trips she has taken to China, and offered one anecdote involving all of this.
“It was very interesting to watch the fans,” Nichols said. “Some of them wanted to be around when the Lakers came on and off the bus, but when NBA Entertainment took its cameras over to shoot that happening, they would hide their faces. They don’t wanna be associated on TV with the NBA. That is a huge change, and possibly an indication, guys, of where this is going.”
It legitimately seems like no one on the NBA’s side of things — whether they’re with the league or one of the teams who are over there — have any idea what to expect due to the magnitude of this situation. Trying to guess seems nearly impossible, but with a game scheduled for Thursday, we can probably assume we’ll have more clarity soon.