Either NBA teams or the USA Olympic basketball team could play in China this year, although the decision is yet to be made amid the coronavirus outbreak and frosty relations between the league and the country.
"Those are issues that haven't been decided yet," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday night at his annual All-Star weekend news conference. If the US team play, the NBA's China Games may not take place, he said.
The willingness to play either Tokyo 2020 warm-ups or the annual preseason games is a sign the relationship between the NBA and China is beginning to thaw as the league celebrates its All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
The NBA had fallen out of favour in China after a tweet in October by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in which he expressed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. The NBA's reaction drew criticism in both the US and China.
That drew comment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and saw the decades-long broadcast of NBA games on state television halted. However, Silver was confident that the relationship would return to normal at some point.
"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."
"I know that, from the data we look at, there continues to be enormous interest for the NBA in China," Silver said. "And my sense is that there will be a return to normalcy fairly soon, but I can't say exactly when, when it comes to CCTV."
Games not involving the Rockets have been streamed live online in China via Tencent, with the exception of the Chinese Basketball Association's All-Star Weekend last month.
Saturday's Rising Stars game was broadcast with a message reading "Good Luck Wuhan" in Chinese on the digital advertising hoardings. That message was only seen on Tencent.
It had been speculated that the All-Star Game itself would see the NBA's return to Chinese terrestrial TV but there was no sign of the game on the CCTV schedules on Sunday.
Silver admitted the NBA had lost money because of the China controversy, but said it was less than US$400 million and may even be less than that. That figure would equate to around 5 per cent of the NBA's annual earnings.
"It's substantial, I don't want to run from that," Silver said. "We were taken off the air in China for a period of time, and it caused our many business partners in China to feel it was, therefore, inappropriate to have ongoing relationships with us. But I don't have any sense that there's any permanent damage to our business there."
One example of that could be the NBA's partnership with Chinese-owned video platform TikTok, which has seen the All-Stars make promotional videos this weekend.
Elsewhere. the dunk contest saw Orlando Magic star Aaron Gordon unveil his new signature sneaker from Chinese brand 361 Degrees. Gordon lost out to Derrick Jones Jnr in the final.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.Artikel Asli