China has begun removing NBA signage ahead of Thursday’s planned preseason game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, as the communist nation continues retaliating against the NBA over a pro-democracy tweet posted by Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.
Chinese state broadcaster (CCTV) canceled the in-country broadcast of the games, citing frustration and anger over NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s response to Morey’s tweet.
“It is inevitable that people around the world – including from America and China – will have different viewpoints over different issues,” Silver explained. “It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.
“However the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.”
Now, in addition to the games not being broadcast, it looks as if the games might not be played at all. Images flooded social media on Wednesday, of workers removing NBA signage from arenas in Shanghai.
All over Shanghai, they’re taking down banners and signs for the NBA in general, and for Thursday’s Lakers-Nets game specifically.
Game is still officially “on”…as of now. Lots of shrugged shoulders over whether it will actually happen. pic.twitter.com/6MFqnWGjFN
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 9, 2019
Shanghai is removing NBA ads.
Goodbye to the NBA. pic.twitter.com/8DeXdOcc63
— XIJIN LI (@XijinLi) October 9, 2019
Workers have also begun painting over Rockets logos in Shanghai:
The NBA's relationship with China is evaporating. They're painting over the Rockets logo in Shanghai. ????
Adam Silver, who's traveling to Shanghai, supported Daryl Morey's freedom of speech: https://t.co/DelUk5pHUM pic.twitter.com/NEGD6emZhV
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) October 8, 2019
Commissioner Silver is currently in China, trying to make amends with the communist country’s leadership.