China wasn’t pleased.
The Houston Rockets were the second most popular basketball team in China, according to NBC Sports, but that may change. The Rockets GM Daryl Morey sent out a now-deleted tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests, which prompted the Chinese Basketball Association to end their relationship with the sports team. The protests began earlier in the Summer when Hong Kong residents stood up to a proposed law that would allow mainland China to extradite Hong Kong residents. Chinese Basketball Association also ended its agreement with the company that holds the NBA broadcast rights in China for the Rockets, meaning their games will no longer air in the nation. The Chinese government is seeking a “reasonable explanation” for the tweet. Many have interpreted this as a wish for an apology.
While in Japan, Morey tweeted, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” which earned him a rebuke from Rockets’ owner Tilman Fertitta. “Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets,” he tweeted. “Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization.” Fertitta told Tim MacMahon of ESPN that Morey’s relationship with him and the organization is all good, stating “I have the best general manager in the league.” Still, Morey’s slip up is rumored to have caused some tension.