Harden, Westbrook Denied Chance To Answer Questions About China

The Houston Rockets James Harden celebrates with teammates after a play during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Miami 7 February 2018

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The statement mocked the NBA's apology to China after the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted on Friday (and then deleted) an image with the slogan "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver responded as the league faced a firestorm sparked by Morey's tweet.

Off the court, Morey has recently made headlines, as Morey has faced a backlash following his tweet over the weekend, in which he supported Hong Kong in seeking their independence from China.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly distanced himself from the sentiment and Morey later said in a statement: "I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China". The top editor of the nationalist Chinese newspaper Global Times, Hu Xijin, told the Times, "I think this issue will gradually de-escalate-Global Times will not push to keep it hot". Other than that I didn't hear. Security tried to take the sign, but the fan resisted and they walked away from their seats and were followed by security.

An NBA representative also told AFP that there were now "no changes" to plans for the second game of the series, scheduled for the southern city of Shenzhen on Saturday.

JD.com, which also did not comment, told local media that the firm deeply resented and strongly condemned Morey's remarks. We love our fans there, the passion, the intensity they have for our sport.

The Wizards have hosted the Guangzhou team for exhibitions before, but in the midst of the NBA-China rift, the game became a ripe target for demonstration.

The threat of capitulating on free speech issues to Chinese Communist Party censorship by the National Basketball Association and other businesses was a major emphasis for lawmakers.

Rockets star James Harden apologized for Morey during a press briefing in China prior to a preseason game there but NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared to back the GM on October 8, two days after the league issued a flat statement that did not back Morey.

Basketball is wildly popular in China and those two teams - largely because of LeBron James starring for the Lakers and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's (nearly里巴巴) Taiwanse-American cofounder Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) now owning the Nets - would have nearly certainly been a huge television draw.

President Donald Trump, in his first public comments about the NBA's relationship with China, criticized Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for their response to questions about the controversy.

Boyajian said: "Honoured to stand with friends tonight defending free speech in America, standing in solidarity with Hong Kong, and speaking out against CCP bullying and the NBA's embarrassing behaviour". Who knows? If folks should have the right to express opinions, they should have the right not to express them, too.

Freedom of speech, in general, is one of the most important principles of American society, whether, in the specific, it's popular or unpopular, whether a lot of people agree with it or don't, whether a foreign government likes it or hates it.

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