Will the NBA return to China?

by | Oct 13, 2021 | Sports | 0 comments

Theo Pinson of Brooklyn Nets – Photo Credit: Flickr

Yesterday, the 12th of October marked two years since the last NBA game in China when the Los Angeles Lakers played the Brooklyn Nets in Shenzhen. The game was the second of the 2019 NBA China Games and it came two days after the same teams met in Shanghai.

The record showed that the Nets won both games but the preseason tour will be long remembered for the controversy surrounding a tweet supporting Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters sent by then Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.

Now after two years, when will the NBA return to China? The first visit by an NBA team to the country came back in 1979 when the Washington Bullets played in Beijing and Shanghai as part of their Asia tour. After 25 years, the NBA had established on the CCTV schedules and the most pre-eminent foreign league in the mainland which is to play its first NBA China Games.

They started with a return for Yao Ming and his Houston Rockets. The franchise would come to be known as “China’s team” before Morey’s tweet was seen in October 2004 and ran to 25 games in China, including one in Macau, with the last in Shenzhen.

Meanwhile, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was hopeful that an NBA team will return to China when he spoke last February at the All-Star Game. “Those are issues that haven’t been decided yet,” said Silver. “If the US team were to play, the NBA’s China Games may not take place.”