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NBA will lose 'hundreds of millions' in China over Hong Kong protest tweet row

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) and Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) vie for a rebound. Chinese state television has stopped screening the NBA. Source: FR171023 AP

The general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team apologised after tweeting his support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The tweet quickly led to a major Chinese backlash.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has announced the league expects to lose "several hundred million dollars" due to a row with China over a tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

The NBA's Chinese sponsors cut ties in a fierce mainland backlash following Morey's tweet in October, just before two NBA teams played pre-season exhibition matches in China.

State broadcaster CCTV also stopped airing NBA games for the country's millions of ardent basketball fans and has not resumed.

The tweet was quickly deleted, but ignited a massive backlash from China.
The tweet was quickly deleted, but ignited a massive backlash from China.

"The magnitude of the loss will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars," Silver told a press conference on the sidelines of the All-Star Weekend in Chicago.

"Probably less than $400 million, maybe even less than that," he said.

However, "it's substantial", he added.

Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver.
Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver.

"I don't want to run from that ... But I don't have any sense that there's any permanent damage to our business there."

The commissioner said he expected CCTV to resume broadcasts of NBA games but did not give a timeframe.

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