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Stream between Lakers vs. Heat interrupted by Tencent due to fan wearing shirt with Taiwan flag

LeBron James, Jimmy Butler, Lkaers, Heat

The drama between the NBA and China continues, as broadcast of the live game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat last Friday had to be interrupted due to the appearance of a Taiwan flag.

Per Kelvin Tan of SportBusiness, cameras caught a spectator seating in the front row of Staples Center wearing a shirt with the Taiwan flag on it, prompting Tencent Sports officials to pull the stream of the game.

Tencent Sports studios replaced the feed with the match between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Brooklyn Nets, citing that elements from the Miami-LA game did not “correspond to broadcasting standards.”

The studio later made the Heat-Lakers highlights available on its platform, but completely omitted coverage of the right side of the court where the fan in question was seated.

Tencent, meanwhile, remains as the league’s sole digital partner in China with a contract that runs through 2020 to 2025.

The country’s crackdown on anything related to controversy comes after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong.

Now a month after that infamous tweet, Rockets games are still barred from broadcast in China, while the team’s name and logo no longer appear in marketing of the games.

Houston had an amicable relationship with the country’s biggest Asian market over the years, especially when they drafted Chinese superstar Yao Ming first overall back in 2002.

The Hall of Fame center spent his nine playing seasons under the Rockets banner and led the team to multiple playoff appearances.