for the first time in forever
NBA games are reportedly back on the air in China after an executive's Hong Kong tweet sparked an extended blackout.
China's state-run network China Central Television is broadcasting NBA games again as of this week, The New York Times and the Global Times reported. The Times noted that with one exception in 2020, the league's games have not aired on Chinese state TV since 2019. They've been broadcast on the streaming platform Tencent since then, but their return to state TV suggested the "rift" between China and the NBA "appears to be coming to an end," the Times wrote.
The NBA blackout came after Daryl Morey, who at the time was the Houston Rockets' general manager, shared a tweet in 2019 expressing support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The tweet sparked outrage in China, and CCTV said it would "immediately halt" the broadcast of NBA games. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Chinese officials wanted Morey to be fired over the tweet but that "there's no chance that's happening."
"We believe broadcasting games to our fans in China and more than 200 other countries and territories is consistent with our mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the game of basketball," an NBA spokesperson told the Times.
The Global Times also reported that the NBA games are now expected to make a "full return" to Chinese state TV, though NBA reporter Li Shuangfu said "the number of games broadcast will not be as many as before, and no more outside guest commentators will be invited."