Published: Wed, October 09, 2019
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Yao Ming ‘extremely hot’ over NBA’s China crisis, says Silver

Yao Ming ‘extremely hot’ over NBA’s China crisis, says Silver

That said, the response, the response by ownership and, I think, the shock and shameful response by Adam Silver just left a lot of jaws on the ground, given really the de minimis statement of support for these Hong Kong protesters that Daryl Morey tweeted.

And while the tweet was quickly deleted, the reaction from China has been swift and severe, with the Rockets going from one of the country's favorite teams to a blacklisted one nearly overnight.

China on Wednesday slammed NBA commissioner Adam Silver's defence of free speech, cancelling a basketball fan event and lashing him in the state-run press, as Apple was warned it could be the next Western firm punished for supporting democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

While wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap, Rodman says: "Commissioner Adam Silver, I know a thing or two about diplomacy".

"I am hoping that together, Yao Ming and I can find an accommodation", said Silver, who visits Yao's hometown of Shanghai tomorrow for two pre-season exhibition games pitting the Los Angeles Lakers against the Brooklyn Nets.

Basketball is the most popular sport in China, with about 500 million people consuming NBA content.

US politicians slammed the NBA's lack of support for Morey as shameful and a craven move by the league to put profits above human rights.

"I was once working from someone from Hong Kong, and we went to mainland China, and the person insisted upon washing the dishes in a restaurant ... on the grounds that they [believed] that the people in mainland China were incapable of washing dishes correctly", he said.

The fallout from Morey's tweet has been grabbing headlines for days.

Chinese state television has already cancelled plans to air exhibition games played in China this week, saying in a statement that a country's sovereignty and social stability were "not within the scope of freedom of speech".

The NBA's dominance in China could prove a firewall against lasting damage, industry figures said. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that Morey doesn't speak for the team and the Rockets aren't a political organization, but he also said he supported Morey.

Smartphone maker Vivo said it was pulling out, while Master Kong, a maker of instant noodles and beverages, said it ended all NBA-linked marketing activities.

The NBA initially described the anger over Morey's post as "regrettable", drawing criticism from USA politicians, who accused the league of putting its China business ahead of free speech. Tencent, which holds local digital broadcast rights for National Basketball Association games in a five-year deal worth a reported $1.5 billion, said 490 million users watched one or more games on its platforms in the 2018-19 season, triple the number from four years ago.

"And the people in China and in Hong Kong are going to hold the capitalists in the West to account for what they did".

The NBA's woes in China also revive memories of the wrath faced a few years ago by brands from Hyundai Motor Amorepacific Corp., which saw their sales plunge from a boycott. Who are we? Where do we want to go?

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