Pride at stake for both China and NBA over $4 billion fallout
Five days after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey deleted his now famous tweet with the words “stand with Hong Kong,” the most popular sports league in the most populous country in the world is getting an earful from all directions.
Although Morey backtracked from supporting the Hong Kong protesters and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta distanced the team from his post, the league has become toxic in China — at least for now.
After an initial league statement was criticized for being too beholden to the Chinese authorities, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended Morey’s right to send the tweet in a statement Tuesday in Tokyo. He said that the league would not pursue profits over principles.
But the timing of this conflict could not be worse for the NBA, with two highly anticipated preseason games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets scheduled for Thursday and Saturday in China.
Two NBA developmental games have already been canceled, as well as a fan appreciation night, with mounting speculation that the showcase games may also be called off.
At the heart of this dispute lies an issue of pride from both sides, said Gregory Stoller, a senior lecturer of strategy and innovation at Boston University’s business school, who has been consulting in China for 15 years……..read more