Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Giannis foresees a key resolution

He says NBA, China will settle

- Matt Velazquez

Over the past few days, the NBA has found itself in the middle of a serious issue between China and protesters in Hong Kong after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent out a since-deleted tweet in support of the protesters this weekend.

The fallout from that tweet has been significant. NBA commission­er Adam Silver has made multiple statements, including one as recently as Tuesday morning. China has responded by canceling G League showcase games in China and refusing to air a pair of NBA preseason games that will be played there this week. In fact, those two games could be canceled altogether.

The situation is both incredibly complex and nu

anced, leaving the league to walk the tightrope of supporting the free speech of those who work within the NBA while also maintainin­g important and lucrative business relationsh­ips in China.

Milwaukee Bucks superstar and reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokoun­mpo has ties to China. He has played there as recently as this summer during the FIBA World Cup and has appeared there in the past for NBA events. Antetokoun­mpo was also one of three players featured in the NBA’s Chinese New Year ad campaign last season. He also has business interests of his own in China considerin­g his endorsemen­t deal with Nike as well as his new, topselling signature shoe, the Zoom Freak 1, that came out this summer.

On Tuesday, Antetokoun­mpo was asked about the current situation between the NBA and China and offered his thoughts.

“I feel like in the NBA they always allow us to express our feelings,” Antetokoun­mpo said. “Players come out, GMs come out and express their feelings. At the end of the day, the NBA wants to have a great relationsh­ip with China and with the fans.

“I know this situation, they’re going to solve it in a way. But what can you do? Like, I feel like the NBA gives you a great platform to express your feelings and say what you believe and what you think about situations in the world. But I know that they’re going to find a way to solve this situation. It was just a misunderst­anding.”

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