The NBA is trying to wrap up the 2019 China Games without any more controversy and has canceled media availability heading into the final game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets.
"We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China," the NBA said in a statement. "They have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad, and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real-time."
The league was forced to cancel media availability prior to Thursday's (October 10) game between the Lakers and the Nets by the Chinese government, but according to ESPN, the decision to shield players and officials from the press for the remainder of the trip was made by the NBA and was “independent of Chinese authorities.” The league says that players from both teams are free to comment on the situation without facing punishment.
The row between the NBA and China started when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The Chinese government blasted the since-deleted tweet, and the NBA took heat for appearing to apologize for his comments. The league reversed course and said they support Morey's right to free speech, which further angered the Chinese government.
China's state-run television station refused to air the games, and the country only allowed Thursday's game to happen if the league agreed not to let players or coaches speak to the media.
Saturday's game is being played in Shenzhen, which is approximately 20 miles from Hong Kong.
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