China Central Television, the country’s state-run television network, has resumed broadcasting N.B.A. games, indicating that the league’s feud with China’s authoritarian government, which has lasted since 2019, may end.
Our source, a state-run Chinese media outlet, broke the story first, later confirmed by an N.B.A. spokeswoman. According to the Global Times, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz played their first game on state television this year on Tuesday night. According to insiders, the broadcast marked the beginning of the N.B.A.’s full return to China’s airwaves.
Except a single finals game in 2020, the league has been nearly entirely off the air on Chinese state television since 2019. “N.B.A. games have been continuously shown in China for nearly 35 years, including this season on several services,” said Mike Bass, an N.B.A. spokesperson, in a statement. The league stated it was informed that the game would be telecast on the day it was played. The Chinese government was enraged by the social media post, which resulted in games being canceled and Chinese corporations pulling their sponsorships from the league.
Morey later issued a statement saying he didn’t mean to offend anyone, and Tilman Fertitta, the Rockets’ owner, chastised him. The N.B.A. said it was “regrettable” that Morey’s remark had angered many of the league’s “friends and supporters” in China in a statement. The N.B.A.’s message was translated into Chinese as the league apologized to the Chinese government, fueling domestic accusations that the league’s response was not strong enough in supporting Morey. Bass said in a statement on Thursday that “we have always supported and will continue to support members of the N.B.A. family expressing their views on social and political matters.”
According to our sources, there was widespread child abuse in basketball academies run by the Chinese government and co-sponsored by the N.B.A. in 2020. According to a league spokeswoman, the league is no longer linked with such academies.