NBA Faces Backlash After Hong Kong Comment Controversy


Anthony Hernandez, Political Analyst

After many years of working together, China and the NBA started to cut ties after controversial tweets were sent in support of the Hong Kong protests. It all started after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a picture about Hong Kong in support for the pro-democracy protests on October 4th. After he voiced his opinion on the situation, controversy broke out and a Twitter storm began. Mr. Morey later deleted the post after the backlash caused by his post after multiple Chinese officials expressed their anger and annoyance with his stance. China then decided to cut ties with the NBA Rockets which has a financial interest in China worth billions of dollars.

After Mr. Morey’s comments, multiple NBA officials came out and condemned his comments for being too controversial and publicly stated that the NBA had no stance on the issue. Not only did China break ties with the Rockets but so did many Chinese businesses and associations. This included the Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning, as well as SPD Bank and the Chinese Basketball Association. The Chinese consulate in Houston also scolded the Rockets, saying: “We have lodged representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Houston Rockets… Anybody with conscience would support the efforts made by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard Hong Kong’s social stability.”

The controversy has been heard far and between and has been trending all across social media especially after NBA superstar, Lebron James came out and spoke on the topic. He mentioned that everyone has the right of freedom of speech here in America but believes that one should consider the ramifications of speaking out on such a sensitive issue and even speculated that people could have been harmed due to Mr. Morey’s comments. I decided to go around and ask others in Whitney Young what they thought of the situation and if they wanted to comment on what LeBron said.

“China has never been on the side of the people and it’s sad to see the NBA just bow down to this Communist country,” reported Christian Lee, ’20.

“We all know the NBA doesn’t care for the people suffering in Hong Kong, it’s all about the money,” exclaimed Unas Gurung, ’21.

“I thought Lebron actually knew what free speech meant,”said Vicente Fernandez, ’23.