Activists have fanned out for the NBA’s season-opening games to demonstrate in support of democracy in Hong Kong.
The National Basketball Association spurred controversy for its support of the human rights abusing Chinese government over the residents of Hong Kong who have been demonstrating to maintain their freedoms as China attempts to tighten its grip on the semi-autonomous protectorate. With the controversy still roiling the NBA, democracy supporters have taken their message directly to the basketball league, AFP reported.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists appeared at the Toronto Raptors season-opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. But the Raptors was not the only team that found activists outside their arena and in the stands.
Activists wearing their “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” t-shirts also appeared at the Staples Center as the Los Angeles Clippers faced the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday.
The activist’s t-shirt slogan was a reflection of a message by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey whose October 5 tweet supporting democracy in Hong Kong set off a string of events leading to the league’s move to castigate Morey and side with the oppressive Chinese government.
The protests at the NBA season-openers were funded by Hong Kong activist Sun Lared who launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the $43,000 to pay for the t-shirts.
The t-shirts were not the only show of support for Hong Kong. Many activists also waved the Hong Kong flag during the NBA games to rally support for their cause.
Meanwhile, the NBA’s opening games were blacked out on Chinese T.V.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.