Workers forced to re-sand floors for NBA game in China after sponsors pulled out
The NBA decided to hold its ground and continue with its scheduled preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai on Thursday, but some significant adjustments had to be made before the ball tipped off.
Despite the Chinese government canceling all media availability and refusing to show the game on national television, NBA commissioner Adam Silver chose to proceed with the Lakers-Nets game. That meant corporate sponsor logos had to be removed and covered up, and ESPN’s Rachel Nichols noted that the court itself had to be sanded down and repainted in spots prior to the game.
No corporate logos on the floor tonight – I’m told that after several sponsors pulled out, workers had to re-sand the floors because the original logos had been painted on. pic.twitter.com/OTshOMFqlF
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 10, 2019
White cloths were draped over many other logos. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, one theory is that China did not cancel the game altogether because officials wanted to show the NBA what a game with no sponsors (and thus no sponsorship money) might be like. However, it appears plenty of fans still attended the game.
The Chinese took down the signs. Adam Silver called their bluff. Bet that game would still happen, didn’t cancel. Full crowd. Silver comes away with a win in the most complex scenario any sports executive has ever had to deal with. pic.twitter.com/uRzd4Pxh5k
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 10, 2019
All of this started with Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeting his support of the pro-democracy protests that have been going on in China. Fans both in China and the United States have been upset over the way the NBA has handled the situation, and some fans were even ejected from a game in Philadelphia this week over an issue related to the topic.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has his work cut out for him in what has become an incredibly complicated situation, as evidenced by the multiple statements the league has released.