The infamous pro-Hong Kong tweet sent out by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is reportedly costing the league a whopping $150-200 million in revenue, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks.
Morey tweeted an image of support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong in October, one that read: “Fight For Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong.”
The tweet infuriated the Chinese government and many of the NBA's Chinese sponsors and key business partners, including CCTV and Tencent — two broadcasting and streaming giants that made the NBA millions of dollars in overseas revenue.
The NBA had expected the 2020-21 salary cap to be around $116 million, but the league has informed teams in a memo that the figure could drop to $113 million after the recent loss of revenue from its Chinese partners.
The league saw the cruel nature that free speech can have in other nations, as the Rockets GM's support for Hong Kong was viewed as “ignorant” and “misguided” by Chinese officials, who pulled their advertisements from the much-awaited preseason games in Shanghai.
The games operated with no sponsors, no media, and some empty seats — given how China had already drawn a line in the sand, painting the NBA as an unapologetic league that had disrespected the values of their country.
CCTV resolved in not airing NBA games any longer while Tencent suspended but then reinstated the broadcast of NBA games late in the preseason, considering the two sides had just extended their partnership for five years and a cool $1.5 billion.