China may have banned NBA preseason games from airing in the country after a Houston Rockets general manager tweeted support for the Hong Kong protests, but this battle is far from over. That’s right, the NBA just struck back by boycotting all showings of China Table Tennis Super League matches in NBA facilities.
Take that, China!
We’d like to see the Super League survive without the money flowing in from viewers in Oklahoma City and Portland!
Some might call it an unpopular move, but one thing is for certain: the NBA held their ground. Sure, NBA greats like Lebron James and Stephen Curry have been huge supporters of Chinese table tennis over the years. But, for now, they’re standing strong by NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s side.
“I’m a strong believer in free speech,” said James. “As difficult as it may be to stop watching ping pong for the time being, I fully support the commissioner’s decision.”
It seems like the Super League won’t be able to handle the NBA’s pressure. Even reigning Olympic champion Ma Long will feel the hurt. The U.S. accounts for over $200 million annually in Ma Long jersey sales. Under the new rule, all jersey sales would be halted until a deal is reached.
At the end of the day this is all about good business. The NBA has a lot invested in China, just like the Super League has a lot invested in the U.S. But until China can recognize NBA employees’ rights to free speech, it looks like they’ll both feel the pain.