People of Hong Kong have been protesting to protect their rights that were established when the city was returned to China by the British in 1997. As a part of that process, China guaranteed Hong Kong’s economic and political systems for 50 years. Daryl Morey showed support to the protesters with a tweet saying “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Then a sh**storm happened.
China is the NBA’s largest growing market and as is everything else in a communist party, their basketball association is under governmental control. A lot of their partnerships with the NBA went through the Houston Rockets, Yao Ming’s team. You must’ve noticed the Rockets were the first team with Chinese signs on their jerseys.
The Chinese Basketball Association announced they will cut all ties with the Houston Rockets. Their president is Yao Ming. This obviously wasn’t his decision and Ming has to follow orders from above, but it goes to show how seriously the Chinese government
Apparently the CBA aren’t the only ones cutting ties with the Rockets, other companies such as Tencent have also decided to cut ties with the Rockets according to the latest tweet they made on Weibo, stating that they will no longer air any future Rockets game and will stop reporting any Rockets news as well, and the fans that previously subscribed to the Rockets will be given a chance to choose a new team to support for.
Morey’s tweet was quickly taken down and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta publicly stated that that was Morey’s private opinion and it doesn’t represent the Rockets organization. The potential damages of the tweet for the entire NBA is in hundred’s of millions. We aren’t talking just about the NBA. A lot of players get tens of millions dollars in shoe deals because their image promotes the brand. If James Harden will not be featured in China at all, Adidas won’t be happy about it as well. We may lose images like this in the future.
With that much money involved, Daryl Morey’s future with the Rockets and in the NBA, in general, is in jeopardy. A strong public apology would be the minimum, but knowing Morey, it won’t come easy. This will let us know how much will the NBA value principles over money.