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China suspends ties with Houston Rockets after general manager’s pro-Hong Kong tweet

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey discusses the direction of the team with the media during a basketball news conference, Tuesday, April 19, 2011.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey discusses the direction of the team with the media during a basketball news conference, Tuesday, April 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

China’s official basketball association says it will suspend co-operation with the Houston Rockets following a tweet by the team’s general manager in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The Chinese Basketball Association said Sunday on its official Twitter-like Weibo account that Daryl Morey had made “improper remarks regarding Hong Kong” to which it expressed its “strong opposition.”

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Morey’s now-deleted tweet read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

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Click to play video 'Reporter hit by Molotov cocktail during protests in Hong Kong' Reporter hit by Molotov cocktail during protests in Hong Kong
Reporter hit by Molotov cocktail during protests in Hong Kong – Oct 6, 2019

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta attempted to distance the team from Morey’s tweet with a Twitter post of his own: “Listen…. @darylmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization.”

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China’s relationship with the Rockets has been especially close because Chinese hall of famer Yao Ming played his entire NBA career with the team.