The Questionable Future of the NBA-China Relationship

Andre Lucas, Co-Copy Editor

Initially tweeting, “fight for freedom: stand with Hong Hong,” which supports Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters on Oct. 4, Daryl Morey, the general manager for the Houston Rockets, soon deleted his tweet after it sparked some controversy, but the damage was already done. Now concerns have been raised by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as their relationship with China has been jeopardized by Morey’s comments.


Downey High School junior varsity basketball player, Andrew Sanchez, 11, gave his view on whether the NBA should continue their relationship with China.


“China does give [the NBA] a lot of money in the preseason so, in the games, we do make a lot of money off of them, and we sell a lot of NBA stuff in China,” Sanchez stated. “[so] we should remain doing business them, but who knows what the Chinese government will do.”


The controversy surrounding the comments of Morey has prompted basketball players from other teams as well, such as Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, who condemned the tweet, saying that Morey was “misinformed” about China’s situation prior to posting the tweet. 


A second junior varsity basketball player, Victor Pantaja, 11, voiced his thoughts on whether he thinks Lebron’s condemnation of Morey’s tweet was appropriate as well as the effect it is having on the Houston Rockets.


“It’s not part of our affairs [because] it’s supposed to be between the [General Managers] and the Hong Kong officials, so don’t really think that’s appropriate,” Pantaja said. “We’re already seen damage like China cutting off ties with the rocket’s GM because now they can’t even have their jerseys or anything or any type of Chinese ties.”


NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, plans to rectify the NBA’s issue with China by meeting with former Houston Rockets player and basketball Hall of Famer, Yoa Ming, who currently serves as the chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association. Ming has also expressed his discontent with the general manager of his former team criticizing the government of his home country.


Another junior varsity basketball player, Jacob Cajigas, 11, stated what he thinks Ming’s dissatisfaction with Morey’s tweet would do the NBA and what he hopes the outcome of this issue would be if the issue is resolved.


“They’ll stop preseason games, and I don’t think the [NBA] will play with China no more,” Cajigas stated. “[But] I think they could if they just talk it out and hopefully the Chinese will continue playing.” 


While the future of the partnership between the NBA and China is still unsure, the association remains a mess as the condemning of Morey’s comment and the backlash that the league is facing for his tweet continues.