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Joe Tsai positive that NBA and China are “in a good place” to reconcile after 4 years since their fallout over Daryl Morey’s comments

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Joe Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets and co-founder/chairman of Alibaba, believes that the NBA is in a good position to resume its relationship with China. Tsai, who was born in Taiwan, has been influential in the NBA’s dealings with China. The NBA faced significant challenges in China after a controversial tweet by then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in 2019. In the tweet, Morey expressed support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, leading to backlash from Chinese authorities.

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Even the NBA’s official statement “We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together,” could not save the fallout between NBA and China. The fallout resulted in the loss of the NBA’s biggest fan base, as China is home to around 300 million NBA fans. The league also suffered financial losses estimated at $400 million in 2021, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

Daryl Morey's comments led to NBA and China relations disrupture.

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So what happened before, I think it’s water under the bridge.” – Joe Tsai believes China is over Daryl Moore’s comments

Joe Tsai, in an interview at the GBA International Sports Business Summit in Macau, stated that the NBA is now in a “very good place” with China. He mentioned that China is the NBA’s biggest fan base, and the league is interested in resuming games in China and Macau. He believes the incident is long forgiven and swept under the carpet as he commented “China is actually the NBA’s biggest fan base. So what happened before, I think it’s water under the bridge.” Tsai emphasized the importance of fans having real, in-person interactions with NBA stars to strengthen the relationship.

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The Nets, owned by Joe Tsai, were the most recent NBA team to play in China in 2019. However, their games against the Los Angeles Lakers were overshadowed by Morey’s tweet, resulting in the NBA being pulled off state-sponsored CCTV for nearly two years. Tsai, being heavily involved in the situation, provided the only on-record comments during the international incident.

Joe Tsai believes NBA is in a good position to mend relations with China

Joe Tsai‘s optimism suggests an improvement in relations and a willingness from the NBA to mend ties with China. The league, understanding the significance of its Chinese fan base, appears to be eager to rebuild the relationship.

Read more: NBA Western Conference: Lakers and Warriors barely hold on to a Play-In Berth as Timberwolves top the highly competitive Western Conference

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Saswata Saha
Saswata Saha
I'm a sports enthusiast with a strong interest in pursuing a career in sports. I watch most of the sports and try to analyse it for a better understanding.
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