76ers exec Morey says he feared HK tweet would end NBA career | Inquirer Sports
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76ers exec Morey says he feared HK tweet would end NBA career

/ 02:36 PM December 24, 2020
Morey China

FILES) This file photo taken on October 10, 2019 shows people holding the Chinese flag (L) and a protest banner (R) in reference to a controversial tweet by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, before the National Basketball Association (NBA) pre-season match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets, at Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai. – China’s state broadcaster CCTV warned on October 16, 2020 those who “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people will have to pay a price” after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey stepped down. (Photo by STR / AFP) / – China OUT

Daryl Morey, embarking on his first season as Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations, told ESPN in an article published Wednesday he once feared his tweet last year supporting Hong Kong activists could end his NBA career.

Morey was general manager of the Houston Rockets when he tweeted: “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” referring to protests Beijing calls separatist and seditious.

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The tweet triggered a fierce backlash in China — the NBA’s most lucrative market outside the United States — and the rift cost the league hundreds of millions of dollars.

When Morey stepped down in October of this year after guiding Rockets basketball operations since 2007, China’s state broadcaster — which blacked out NBA games for a year — hinted he had “paid a price” for the tweet.

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Two weeks later, however, Morey landed with the 76ers, although he acknowledged in his ESPN interview that the firestorm had caused him to wonder if he would end up out of the league.

“In the last 12 months, I had moments where I thought I might never work in the NBA again, for reasons I was willing to go down for,” Morey said. “But I love working, I love what I do, and I didn’t want that to happen.”

Morey said he remained “very comfortable with what I did” even though he didn’t anticipate the outrage he would face.

“You don’t want the second-most powerful government on Earth mad at you, if you can avoid it,” he said.

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TAGS: China, Daryl Morey, Hong Kong, Houston Rockets, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Tweet
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