By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Los Angeles Lakers are set to face the Brooklyn Nets at Shanghai on Thursday and at Shenzhen on Saturday, but the 2019 NBA preseason games might be canceled. Wednesday’s Media availability has been already canceled, so were the scheduled NBA Cares event and the Chinese television’s plans for broadcasting the prep matches. Also, banners and signs related to the 2019 NBA China games were taken down in several cities of the Asian country.
The Los Angeles Times’ report adds on the complicated situation noting that stores in China are withdrawing any merchandise connected to the Houston Rockets and recent controversial action on Twitter from GM Daryl Morey. The latter pushed both his team and the rest of the NBA into the crisis that keeps on building daily to an unknown end.
A Rockets fan took it a step further and was arrested for posting on Weibo a photo of himself about to burn a Chinese flag and writing: “I live and die with the team.” Local police mentioned that he had desecrated the national flag and was under investigation. Comments below his post display a united front from other fans against supporting anything related to the NBA.
The fallout from Morey’s since-deleted post on Twitter in favor of protesters in Hong Kong demonstrating against the Chinese government keeps on building rapidly. Both the Lakers and the Nets are already at China, but were not greeted from fans as expected before the developing situation and might not even play the pair of scheduled friendly games.