NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday that the league is still considering playing in China at some point in 2020 despite concerns about the coronavirus epidemic and ongoing political fallout over a general manager expressing support for protests in Hong Kong.
Silver said discussions are still underway for both preseason NBA games and pre-Olympic USA basketball games, and that is possible one may go forward but not the other, The Associated Press reported.
“Those are issues that haven’t been decided yet,” Silver said Saturday night at his yearly All-Star weekend news conference, the AP said.
After Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s October tweet in support of the Hong Kong demonstrations, the Chinese Basketball Association ended its relationship with the Rockets and Chinese state television pulled several NBA broadcasts.
“Our games have not returned to CCTV, the government broadcaster,” Silver said. “My sense is they will at some point in the future. We are not pressing them. It’s a decision that is outside of certainly our control and I’m often not even sure where that decision lies.”
The coronavirus, meanwhile, has affected at least 14 different sports, although organizers for the Tokyo Olympics have said they will not affect planning for the games despite 259 cases reported in Japan and one death as of Friday, according to the AP.
“It’s impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said. The virus has killed over 1,500 people in China thus far, with a total of 66,492 cases reported as of Friday.