Banners in arena are removed and players are reportedly building anxiousness playing games amidst tension in China. Los Angeles Lakers are set to face Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
At least 200 media personnel entered the lobby of a luxury hotel in Pudong when workers were seen tearing down advertisement for the NBA games. For about less than an hour before Lakers and Nets were set to address the media for the first time.
The first scheduled game will be held on Thursday night at Mercedes Benz Arena. While, the second match up will be on Shenzen, Saturday night.
It was not the first time that an NBA-related event was canceled hours before they were scheduled to start. Two NBA Cares events did not push through on Tuesday and Wednesday after Chinese governmental agencies cancelled the said event, the events were supposedly for an elementary school and other for Special Olympics. Moreover, a fan event was also canceled on Wednesday.
The turmoil began when Houston Rockets GM (general manager) Daryl Morey posted a now-deleted tweet that supported people in Hong Kong that are protesting the Chinese Government.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a news conference in Japan that he would not step on Morey’s freedom of expression but hoped to continue the league’s events in China.
“I’m sympathetic to our interests here and to our partners who are upset,” Silver added. “I don’t think it’s inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles.”