Months after a statement caused the feud between China and the NBA, the China Central Television, CCTV, has said they have no plans to resume showing NBA games, even when the season resumes.
The fallout started shortly before the commencement of the 2019/2020 season, around the time NBA teams were in China for preseason games. It all began with a tweet from Daryl Morey, General Manager of the Houston Rockets who seemed to be on the side of the protesters in Hong Kong. The exact tweet read “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong”.
China has always had a reputation for not letting other countries dabble in matters which it considers as local, especially having to do with Hong Kong. Last year, protesters took over the streets of Hong Kong over a controversial bill from China. Morey lent his voice to support the activities of the protesters, something the Chinese government did not take lightly.
Commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, was quick to distance the NBA from Morey’s tweet, which he deleted after the uproar began, but maintained Morey’s right to freedom of expression. He stated that the tweet was entirely Morey’s opinion and had nothing to do with the NBA, as an association, or the various teams.
However, that meant little because even though the two games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets held as planned, it was clear from the atmosphere before and after the matches that things were not the way they ought to be.
The absence of the media to broadcast the two games and the cancellation of Silver’s pregame interview were two of the obvious signs that China was reacting to the tweet. And things have not still changed.
On Monday, Silver appointed Michael Ma as the CEO of NBA China, a move most people thought would repair the relationship between the NBA and China. Ma’s father, Ma Guoli, is regarded as the founder of CCTV sports.
Whether people had died after China released a statement in a state newspaper, “reiterating its consistent stance on national sovereignty.” By Tuesday, Ma Guoli had stepped down from his position as adviser to the Chinese Basketball Association.
The cold relationship between the NBA and China has been costly, with Silver reporting that the NBA had lost more than $300 million, since no NBA game has being aired in China so far this season. The new actions by China show that the feud is far from over and the NBA may just have to prepare to do without China for a long time.
Written by: Leon Osamor