NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was optimistic that the league’s relationship with China would eventually return to normal, including the possibility that the NBA will play there sometime this year, despite the complications caused by the coronavirus, NBC reported on Sunday.
The NBA has been reeling from a tweet by Houston GM Daryl Morey this past October backing the demonstrators in Hong Kong and the league’s refusal to punish him.This led Chinese state television to pull NBA broadcasts, and Silver said the games have not yet returned.
Silver is optimistic that they will in the near future, CBS reported.
“There have been discussions about pre-Olympic games [being played in China]... and there also are ongoing discussions about whether we will return for preseason games," he said.
However, the coronavirus has put these discussions on hold, because “It’s almost hard for us to be having conversations about the broadcasting of games when there’s a major national, if not global, health crisis happening.”
Silver admitted that the crisis with China over the Hong Kong protests has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
“It’s substantial. I don’t want to run from that,” he said. “But I don’t have any sense that there’s any permanent damage to our business there, and as I’ve said before, we accept the consequences of our system and our values” by refusing to limit the right of freedom of expression.
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