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Monday, October 21, 2019

Basketball

Adam Silver issues new statement on situation between NBA and China

Adam Silver

The original statement that NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued in response to Houston Rockets general manager Darryl Morey’s tweet about Hong Kong left many fans outraged, and the league is now trying to clarify its stance.

On Sunday night, the NBA issued a statement acknowledging that Morey’s tweet supporting the protests in Hong Kong “offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.” The statement said the league respects the history and culture of China but also supports Morey’s right to have an opinion and express it, even if the opinion is not shared by the NBA or the Rockets.

The reaction to the initial statement inspired Silver to clarify the NBA’s stance with a new statement on Tuesday morning. He said he understands the original statement left people “angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the NBA stands for” but insisted the league’s motivation “is about far more than growing our business.”

The protests Morey showed support for have been taking place in opposition to an extradition bill that has many in the Hong Kong area concerned about their political autonomy and influence from the Chinese government. Silver said the NBA simply cannot operate in a way that regulates what players, employees and team owners say about political issues.

The NBA generates a big portion of its business from China, which is why Morey’s tweet has sparked a major controversy for the league. There was even evidence that the NBA issued two different statements to appeal to both fans in the United States and China, which is why Silver put out a new press release on Tuesday.

Watch: Marcus Morris ejected from preseason game with ruthless plays

Marcus Morris Justin Anderson

Marcus Morris was ejected from the New York Knicks’ first preseason game after two ruthless plays against Washington Wizards forward Justin Anderson.

Morris was being defended by Anderson and clearly annoyed. Morris’ response was to viciously swing his elbows at Anderson. Then Morris smashed Anderson on the head with the ball.

An ejection is just the start; the league needs to suspend Morris. That is a garbage, non-basketball play. You can’t just do that to someone who’s defending you. There’s no excuse for it whatsoever. Gregg Popovich was right when he described Morris as “unprofessional.”

Morris is in his first season with the Knicks after signing a one-year, $15 million deal with them. He had reneged on a deal with the Spurs to join the Knicks.

Darko Milicic plays first basketball game in seven years, looks absolutely massive

If you thought that you had seen the last of Darko Milicic on a professional basketball court, you thought wrong.

The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft reemerged this week for his first basketball game in seven years, suiting up for his hometown team in Novi Sad, Serbia. European journalist Marco Pagliariccio shared an image of Milicic on the court looking absolutely enormous.

Here are more images of Milicic’s return to the hardwood, which apparently ended prematurely due to a shoulder injury.

The now 34-year-old Milicic, who was listed at seven-foot and 250 pounds during his playing career, was infamously selected by the Detroit Pistons in 2003 ahead of the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. While he was on Detroit’s 2004 championship team, Milicic bounced around six teams in nine years before his NBA career flamed out in 2012.

The last that we heard of Milicic, he was dabbling in another pro sport. That did not go too well for him though, and now he has found his way back to the friendly confines of basketball.

Did NBA share two different statements about Daryl Morey comments in appeal to China?

Adam Silver

A Google translation suggests the NBA issued two different statements about Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong tweet — one to appeal to their fans in the U.S., and another to appeal to those in China.

On Sunday night, the NBA issued the following statement to its fans in the U.S.:

“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. 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.”

The statement seems to say: we regret that Morey sent something that offended people in China.

However, Yiqin Fu said on Twitter that the statement the NBA shared in China condemned Morey. That statement said the NBA was “extremely disappointed” in the Houston Rockets GM’s tweet.

The New York Times’ Sopan Deb also said their Hong Kong team came up with the same translation:

We tracked down the NBA’s statement that appeared on Chinese social media service Weibo — China’s version of Twitter. We copied the entire statement into Google Translate, and this is what the translation yielded:

“We are extremely disappointed with the inappropriate comments made by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who has undoubtedly seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese fans. Morey has clarified that his remarks do not represent the position of the Rockets and the NBA. Under the values of the NBA, people can learn more about what they are interested in and share their opinions. We respect China’s history and culture with great respect. We hope that sports and the NBA, as a positive energy of unity, will continue to build bridges for international cultural exchanges and bring people together.”

In the first statement, the NBA says we regret Morey offended those in China. In the second statement, the translation says the NBA is “extremely disappointed” in Morey over his “inappropriate comments.” The two statements are much different and seem to appeal to different audiences; one appeals to Chinese people who are offended, and the other to Americans from a league that has constantly stood up for social justice.

So what is going on here? There are a few possible scenarios that we can think of:

1) The NBA issued two different statements, one to appeal to each audience in an attempt to straddle both sides of the fence

2) The Google translation is incorrect, which is possible considering translation technology is not perfect and some wording/expressions are difficult to translate

3) Weibo changed the wording of the NBA’s statement

Morey’s original tweet was sent on Friday night and contained a graphic saying he supported those protesting in Hong Kong. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta immediately distanced the team from Morey’s tweet.

After a report said Morey’s job status was being discussed, the Rockets GM shared the following statement:

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA,” Morey said.

Daryl Morey, NBA issue statements in response to China backlash

Daryl Morey

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued a statement via Twitter on Sunday in response to the controversy sparked by his tweet about Hong Kong. The NBA also issued a statement on the matter.

While in Japan ahead of exhibition games his Rockets are playing in the country, Morey sent a tweet supporting those protesting in Hong Kong. Protests have been ongoing in Hong Kong since earlier this year and were renewed this month, even resulting in some deaths.

Morey’s tweet angered many in China, with the Chinese Basketball Association, Chinese consulate, and several businesses — including the NBA’s digital partner in the country — denouncing the GM’s viewpoint and moving to sever or suspend relationships with the Rockets. The Rockets became one of the most popular teams in China because they had Yao Ming for several years. The country’s interest and support of the Rockets provides a significant part of the value of the $2.2 billion owner Tilman Fertitta paid for the team in 2017.

About an hour after a report from The Ringer said the Rockets were considering firing Morey, the GM sent a statement on Twitter.

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA,” Morey said.

Morey did not apologize for his tweet; instead, he said he did not intend to offend people. He also tried to separate himself from the Rockets and NBA in order to help both groups preserve business relationships with the country.

The NBA later sent this statement:

“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. 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.”

It’s unclear whether this will be enough to satisfy those in China or whether the Rockets and NBA will have to do more to preserve relationships they value and have worked hard to build.

Report: Rockets discussed firing Daryl Morey after Chinese backlash from Hong Kong tweet

Daryl Morey

The Houston Rockets have reportedly discussed firing Daryl Morey after receiving backlash from China over the general manager’s tweet about protests in Hong Kong.

Morey and the Rockets are in Tokyo for a two-game exhibition series against the Toronto Raptors in Saitama, Japan. On Friday night, Morey sent a tweet that included a graphic saying “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta immediately distanced the team from the tweet.

Protests have been ongoing in Hong Kong over an extradition bill that has many in the area concerned about their political autonomy and influence from the Chinese government.

Morey’s next tweet was innocuous, but he was still ratio’d on Twitter — meaning he was met with negative response from angry people.

The NBA does big business in China, and the Rockets are a favorite team in the country thanks to the time Yao Ming spent with the organization.

The Chinese Basketball Association, several Chinese businesses, and Tencent Holdings — the NBA’s digital rights holder in China — have all denounced Morey’s comments and moved to suspend or sever ties with the Rockets.

The Ringer’s John Gonzalez reported on Sunday that the Rockets have discussed firing Morey in response to the backlash.

Fertitta even liked some comments on Instagram suggesting Morey be fired.

USA Today’s Sam Amick says talk of Morey’s job being in jeopardy is probably inaccurate.

Fertitta did support Morey in a statement given to ESPN.

“I have the best general manager in the league,” Fertitta said. “Everything is fine with Daryl and me. We got a huge backlash, and I wanted to make clear that the organization has no political position. We’re here to play basketball and not to offend anybody.”

Morey, 47, has been the Rockets’ general manager since 2007. He later issued a statement on Twitter.

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA,” Morey said.

Kevin Durant’s new height changes to 6’10” after NBA crackdown

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has grown this year, sort of.

The NBA sent a memo to teams telling them they needed to certify players’ ages and heights. The crackdown came after Buddy Hield was revealed to be older than his previously listed age.

The New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy reported on Sunday that as part of this crackdown, Durant’s height was changed from 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-10.

KD had long been listed as 6-foot-9 on his player profiles even though it was widely recognized that he was taller.

Here are some old tweets about the matter:

Durant had been perpetuating the myth that he was 6-foot-9.

Why did he lie about his height? Durant explained in an interview with KNBR’s Bob Fitzgerald.

“Since I love you guys so much, I was recorded at 6’10” and three-quarters with no shoes, so with my shoes on I’m 7-feet,” Durant told Fitzgerald. “I just like messin’ with people. They just ask me so much… yeah, I just like messin’ with people.

“For me, when I’m talking to women, I’m 7 feet. In basketball circles, I’m 6-9.

“I’ve always thought it was cool to say I’m a 6-9 small forward,” he said. “Really, that’s the prototypical size for a small forward. Anything taller than that, and they’ll start saying, ‘Ah, he’s a power forward.’ ”

So there you have it. Durant is officially listed at 6-foot-10 now, but still may be closer to 6-foot-11, and probably 7-feet tall with shoes on.

I could understand lying about height if you’re this guy, but there does not seem to be much meaningful reason for Durant to do it.