China won't air Celtics games

Asia's Tech News Daily

China won't air Celtics games
© The Manila Times Enes Kanter AFP PHOTO

CHINESE broadcaster and NBA partner Tencent is not showing current or archived Boston Celtics games on its platforms, in apparent response to comments that Celtics center Enes Kanter made to advocate Tibetan independence.

Kanter, as part of a series of social media posts, also called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator.” Kanter did not play in Boston’s 138-134 loss to New York on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila). The game that was not shown on the streaming services that typically broadcast most NBA games to millions in China.

The NBA had no immediate comment and the Celtics were not practicing Thursday. It was also not immediately clear how long Tencent’s plans to not air the Celtics would last.

Kanter was wearing shoes emblazoned with the words “Free Tibet” during Wednesday night’s game. “More than 150 Tibetan people have burned themselves alive!! — hoping that such an act would raise more awareness about Tibet. I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for Freedom,” he wrote on Twitter.

The league and China have had a damaged relationship since October 2019, when then-Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of government protesters in Hong Kong and sparked what essentially became a blackout for the league in the world’s most populous nation.

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