Chinese NBA Fans Gone?


Selas Rivers, Contributor

The preseason games for the NBA that took place the second week of October in China came to a sudden halt when Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet showing support for protesters in Hong Kong. Daryl Morey’s choice words were “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” (Source 2). His post was not on for long. After posting it, he shortly afterwards deleted it. He wasn’t fast enough to pass up the surveillance of China’s government. As a result, out of China’s rage for Morey’s comment, the government “TV network canceled televising the NBA exhibition games being played there… internet streaming was canceled as well… the Chinese Basketball Association suspended all association with the Houston Rockets… and China’s consul general in Houston demanded the team “immediately correct the mistakes,” (Source 2). China was extremely offended, but when the NBA explained that Morey was just practicing his First Amendment rights, China in response cut off all 11 of the NBA partners in China (travel companies to fast food chains.

The loony fact is “All this for a tweet that the Chinese people couldn’t even see — because Twitter is banned in China,” (Source 2).Why was China so work up over a single post they could clearly not even see? Just because of one person’s statement on freedom, China broke out as if they were being directly attacked by Morey. It’s not like Morey was directly telling people to go and actually fight for Hong Kong, he was just encouraging America to stand up for what they fought for back in 1776. “For example, by going into China, the NBA might not just entertain Chinese citizens, but also give them a glimpse of the benefits of democracy and civil liberties,” (Source 1) which is a reason why China shut down all streaming and live recording of the games. They were afraid that the game would turn out to be a protest and stance for Hong Kong supporters in China.

Not only did the NBA lose partnership with China they also lost some greens, billions of it. With fans, comes money. In China alone, the NBA had about 1.4 billion fans, and after the tweet dispute, the NBA lost many Chinese fans. America makes millions from China streaming, playing, and buying basketball related products. Surprisingly, “the NBA’s largest store outside North America is in Beijing,” (Source 3). Thus, making China one of the NBA’s best suppliers in NBA products and promotions.

Even the dispute between America and China with trading tariffs is still going. With this sudden NBA occurrence, it only has made things harder for America on their part.

China would also experience many losses, seen through the downfall of their revenues from the NBA’s appearance and products. “Instead, companies find the problems governments want them to solve are incredibly hard — and companies themselves suffer the political fallout when they can’t get things right,” (Source 1) causing problems in that specific company and the government expecting them to survive.

The NBA tried fixing the problem with China and put things back in order, but China stubbornly made the NBA sit on the edge of their seats in angst for China’s acceptance of the apology.China finally accepted, but the dispute of morality and freedom of speech still goes on.