China Cancels Lakers’ NBA Cares Event

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Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey

China has canceled an NBA Cares event featuring the Los Angeles Lakers, as the communist nation continues to retaliate against the NBA after Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

The NBA Cares event, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was shut down only hours before it was set to begin. The event was supposed to benefit the Special Olympics. The league would not address China’s decision to cancel the event directly. Instead, the NBA would only say that the cancellation was not their decision, ESPN reports.

According to ABC 7 via ESPN:

On Tuesday, an NBA Cares event with the Nets at an education center in Shanghai was canceled by the Chinese government. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would still donate computers to the center.

The Lakers proceeded with a practice Wednesday that was closed to the media, a team source told ESPN. The Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to play the first of two preseason games in the country Thursday. Silver is expected to address both teams later on Wednesday.

Silver, speaking in Japan on Tuesday, said he and the league are ‘apologetic’ over the outcome and reaction that followed Morey’s tweet, but he noted that ‘we are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.’

The Chinese state broadcaster (CCTV) has said they will not broadcast the NBA preseason games in China. In a statement posted to their social media account, CCTV cited their dissatisfaction with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s response to Morey’s tweet.

“We’re strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right to freedom of expression,” the statement read. “We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.”

Commissioner Silver is currently in China, trying to make amends with the communist country’s leadership.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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