NBA commissioner weighs in on China, Hong Kong controversy

Adam Silver voiced his support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, whose pro-Hong Kong tweet set off a firestorm of debate.
2:05 | 10/08/19

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Transcript for NBA commissioner weighs in on China, Hong Kong controversy
Okay, now to that breaking news, China announcing this morning they're pulling NBA games from their airwaves. ABC's Kaylee Hartung is here, has the latest on all that. Good morning, Kaylee. Reporter: This story developing as the NBA commissioner is making his position clear and defending Daryl Morey's right to freedom of speech despite the consequences in China. This morning, NBA commissioner Adam silver voicing his support for Daryl Morey, general manager. The Houston rockets. The long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression and in this case Daryl Morey as the general manager of the Houston rockets enjoys that right. I understand there are consequences. We will protect our employees' freedom of speech. Reporter: China announced they will not air any NBA preseason games and the network says we are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose silver's claim to support Morey's right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech. The controversy began the rockets' Morey fired off this tweet, fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong referring to the massive protests against China. The Chinese basketball association run by former rocket Yao Ming suspended all cooperation with the Houston team and the rockets were quick to distance themselves from Morey's sentiment and the team tweeting Morey does not speak for the Houston rockets and the NBA said Morey's comments have deeply offended our fans in China which is regrettable. The NBA is the number one sports league in China and big business for the league. With at least 25 marketing partnerships and 200 NBA stores. Silver says the NBA does not want to upset its legends of fans but must stay true to its American principles. Daryl's tweet hit a third rail issue here in China. Reporter: Adam silver is going to Shanghai tomorrow to watch a preseason game and he hopes to meet with Chinese officials to smooth this over, silver says he recognizes this issue will probably not go away quickly. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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