China denies telling NBA to fire exec over Hong Kong tweet
Protesters display posters at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong on October 15, 2019, during a rally in support of NBA basketball Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and against comments made by Lakers superstar LeBron James. US basketball superstar LeBron James on October 14, 2019, has sharply criticised a Houston Rockets executive for angering China with a tweet supporting protesters in Hong Kong, saying the executive was 'misinformed' and should have kept his mouth shut.
Anthony Wallace/AFP

China denies telling NBA to fire exec over Hong Kong tweet

(Agence France-Presse) - October 18, 2019 - 4:00pm

BEIJING – China denied Friday that it demanded that the NBA fire a Houston Rockets executive over a tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey ignited a firestorm earlier this month with a tweeted image captioned "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

It came right before the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets arrived in China for what proved to be a tense two-game exhibition tour, with broadcasters refusing to air the games and local sponsors cutting ties with the NBA.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the basketball league was also "being asked to fire him (Morey) by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business."

Asked whether Beijing pressured the NBA to fire Morey, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing on Friday: "The Chinese government has never raised these kinds of demands."

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