The NBA introduced Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets won’t discuss with reporters for the rest of their keep in China, the place they’re set to play one final exhibition recreation on Saturday.
“We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China,” an NBA assertion learn. “They have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real time.”
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reviews that the choice was the NBA’s and never that of the Chinese authorities, which forbid the Lakers and Nets from speaking with reporters each earlier than and after their preseason recreation on Thursday. A league spokesman advised McMenamin that the groups are free to carry their very own media availabilities however are unlikely to take action contemplating that the NBA mentioned the media lockdown with the gamers’ affiliation earlier than saying it.
The NBA has spent the week attempting to comprise an issue that began final Friday when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted out his help of protesters in Hong Kong, drawing condemnation in mainland China and main a number of Chinese corporations to chop ties with the Rockets. The NBA appeared deferential to China in its first assertion on the matter Monday, then gave an announcement of help to its gamers’ and executives’ proper to free speech on Tuesday.
Friday’s media shutdown was emblematic of how the NBA is striving to take care of the precarious stability between its relationship with China – with which the league has had an extended, financially profitable relationship – and its gamers’ proper to talk freely. On Thursday, CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane was shut down at a information convention in Tokyo when she tried to ask the Rockets’ James Harden and Russell Westbrook about this week’s occasions, with a group official telling her to ask “basketball questions only.”
The league later apologized and mentioned Macfarlane ought to have been allowed to ask her query.
“It’s the biggest story of the week so I felt the question needed to be asked,” Macfarlane advised The Post. “I didn’t expect to have to defend my question and I didn’t expect the reaction to be so forceful. I said to the Rockets person that this wasn’t a good look for the NBA.”
Harden, a preferred participant in China, was one of many final NBA gamers to touch upon the problem Monday, saying “we apologize” for Morey’s tweet and “we love China.”