The NBA finds itself in hot waters after the general manager of Houston Rockets Daryl Morey expressed his support for Hong Kong protesters in his now-deleted tweet that read, “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Although the NBA released a statement calling it regrettable for the views of Daryl Morey to have offended friends and fans in China, a comment by NBA head Adam Silver who expressed support for freedom of speech further fuelled the ire of the Chinese public.
Former NBA player Yao Ming who is now chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association has said that it would cut ties with the Houston Rockets. This week marks the NBA Fan Night on Oct. 9 and the NBA China Games 2019 between Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 10. Many stars have issued statements to indicate that they will no longer be attending. Li Yifeng relayed his message through his studio saying that even though he is a basketball enthusiast, his motherland comes first.
Other stars who have released statements either through their own social media account or their studio also include Wu Jinyan, Zhou Yiwei, Bai Jingting, Zheng Yunlong and Fan Chengcheng. Chinese boy band UNINE said that their nine members are unified in upholding the One-China policy. Cai Xukun who previously collaborated with the NBA has also cut ties with the brand. Chinese state television CCTV has suspended broadcast of NBA games this week.