SHANGHAI – One day before the scheduled kick-off of a Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers game in Shanghai, a crisis for the National Basketball Association did not seem to be closer.
A players' meeting was canceled and a press event postponed, a spokeswoman for the league said late Wednesday. The teams trained and some players participated in a Special Olympics-related NBA Cares event, even though one scheduled for Tuesday did not take place.
An executive tweet from the Houston Rockets, which is popular this week in China, but not in China, sparked a political storm as they praised the anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong. Chinese broadcasters and sponsors then exposed some aspects of cooperation with the NBA when their commissioner stated that he did not apologize for the tweet of the General Manager of Rockets
although the league also said it was unfortunate that it angered the Chinese fans.
The NBA spokeswoman said she has no information about the scheduled game on Thursday in Shanghai.
Half-hour press events with Nets and Lakers players were postponed late Wednesday, with no indication of whether or when they would take place. The networks belong to a co-founder of the Chinese online retailer
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
NBA Minor League show games were canceled in Suzhou.
In the shadow of Shanghai's legendary Pearl Oriental Tower and next to the hotel where NBA players and officials are staying, a solitary worker hanged on ropes on Wednesday afternoon dragged a huge poster advertising the games ,
A Giant Above the hotel entrance was a Chinese flag flanked by fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the occasional player who was leaving.
"This incident is what nobody wants to see. But I want to say that firstly I am a Chinese and secondly a basketball fan, "he said
A 27-year-old hospital employee in front of the hotel wearing a LeBron James shirt.
Social media photos showed workers turning placards fixed on street lamps into the city. A video of a basketball club in nearby Wuxi showed a wall painted over the Houston Rockets logo.
As evidence of how the basketball dispute might upset some areas of Chinese society, police in northeastern Jilin Province said they arrested a 25-year-old man on Sunday who was accused of making online statements that insult the citizen flag.
The man was identified by the police only by his surname Wang and his online screen name in the Weibo news service. The report showed a photo of a man wearing a Houston Rockets jersey with a cover over his eye – pictures taken by demonstrators in Hong Kong – holding a lighter under an inverted Chinese flag.
"I live and die with the basketball team," the ad said.
– Yin Yijun contributed to this article.
Write to James T. Areddy at [email protected]
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