Silver says National Basketball Association will not regulate speech

039;South Park' — 'Band in China'

Last week Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Chinese broadcasters said they would no longer air Houston Rockets games in the country, and since NBA basketball is popular there, the NBA put out a statement saying that they have "great respect for the culture and history of China", a statement many saw as cowardly.

"You have to understand what is really happening in Hong Kong in order to understand the reaction inside China", Ross told hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon.

"But I'm a realist as well, and I recognise that this issue may not die down so quickly", he said.

The NBA had also said that "the values of the league support individuals' educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them".

The Chongyang Institute fellow asserted that this distinguishing factor is part of the reason those from mainland China are being targeted and "beat up" in Hong Kong in recent demonstrations.

The NBA's decades-long push to develop China into its biggest overseas market appeared increasingly in jeopardy on Tuesday (Oct 8) as the league's commissioner stood firm in the face of criticism from Beijing and the Chinese threatened financial repercussions.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets play exhibitions on Thursday in Shanghai and on Saturday in the southern city of Shenzhen, which neighbours Hong Kong.

While the Houston Rockets may have been a fan-favorite in China due to the eight seasons Shanghai-born former NBA All-Star Yao Ming played with the team, Ross said Morey's tweet has ruined the Rockets' standing, and the team name "is now dirt".

Silver also said he hopes basketball can continue be something that unifies the countries.

Morey's initial tweet led to several Chinese sportswear brands suspending ties with the Rockets.

Despite this, however, the Sixers announced that their preseason game against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions in China will push through. "I think Yao is extremely unsettled".

An NBA Cares event in Shanghai with the Nets was cancelled Tuesday, though the Nets participated in other events as scheduled. The Lakers were arriving there Tuesday.

"We feel this law is inconsistent with the core values of this league", Silver said in 2016.

"How can it be possible to carry out exchanges and co-operation with China without knowing China's public opinion?"

"The NBA has been in cooperation with China for many years", said ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a daily news briefing.

Before his news conference in Tokyo, Silver released a statement Tuesday saying the league "will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues".

The NBA draws a large audience from China, hence the league's willingness to take the game overseas.

"He came out strongly for freedom of speech", Popovich said. "And I felt great again, just like I did with the Clipper deal". "I regret that so many people (in China) are upset, including millions and millions of our fans".

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