Events for fans have been cancelled, including one to announce plans by the NBA to refurbish outdoor basketball courts in Shanghai, and another where fans were to meet players. "He couldn't answer the question, he was shaking".
Minutes later, security approached one fan holding a "Free Tibet" sign and another holding the Tibet flag.
"The NBA claims they are not political, but they are not only cooperating with the Chinese government, but also helping to spread their disinformation and silence protest". That is just the world we live in.
And this move was one of those consequences.
The arena's website states that "signs must be in good taste and appropriate for the event" but also notes that the policy is "subject to change based on The Wells Fargo Center management's discretion and without notice". According to a statement from the team, officials removed two fans from the stands for "their continuing disruption of the fan experience".
The matter had already reached Washington D.C., where presidential candidates and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle blasted an National Basketball Association statement that seemed created to placate China at the expense of its own employee.
"I'm sympathetic to our interests here and our partners that are upset", Silver said.
In less than a week, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet in support of protests in Hong Kong, the Rockets and NBA's censuring of the post and China's scorched-earth reaction against the conversation have created an issue that will simply not go away for the league. Signage in Shanghai to promote the game - huge photos of James, Anthony Davis, Irving and other players - was ripped down, and mentions of the game were scrubbed from the arena website.
They snowballed into a movement calling for more democratic freedoms, the biggest challenge to China's rule of Hong Kong since its handover from Britain in 1997.
Silver stressed he regrets Chinese NBA fans are upset but would not apologize for Morey's tweet. He also brought up Popovich's response, but said "he didn't look quite as scared". I think tolerance for differing societies' approaches, tolerance for differing points of view and the ability to listen. "They said, 'Don't give me a hard time, '" Wachs told ABC 6.
In the USA, there was governmental reaction as well leading up to the game.
Guangzhou will play Wednesday at Washington. And on Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. AAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined forces again.
While it could have been the Rockets' load to carry, he expressed that Silver's remarks have ensured the "NBA is going to bite the dust as well" in China.
"You have more power to take a stand than most of the Chinese government's targets and should have the courage and integrity to use it", the lawmakers told Silver.
American companies have hailed China, mostly uncritically, as a vast new market for their products and services.
Morey could have had no idea the now-deleted tweet would touch off almost a week of controversy.