The NBA is moving forward with an exhibition game in China, scheduled for Thursday, amid backlash that now includes congressional criticism and anger over the confiscation of "Free Hong Kong" signs at an NBA game in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night.
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The NBA promoted the Los Angeles Lakers-Brooklyn Nets matchup taking place in Shanghai on Chinese social network Weibo on Thursday, Reuters reported. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that he will attend the game.
Chinese state media will not show Thursday's game or a rematch in Shenzhen scheduled for Saturday. China also mandated that neither members of the teams nor NBA Commissioner Adam Silver conduct news conferences in connection to the game, sources close to the situation confirmed to FOX Business.
Days earlier, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey's tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters set off an international incident, with nearly all of the NBA's Chinese sponsors opting to suspend business ties to the league.
Meanwhile, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have criticized the NBA.
"Unless American businesses aggressively confront this intimidation campaign, the Chinese government will increasingly punish free speech outside China's borders. ... 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," Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and Democrat New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski wrote in a letter to the NBA on Wednesday.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well as Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Reps. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Jim Banks of Indiana also signed the letter.
FOX Business inquiries to Nike were not returned at the time of publication.
FOX Business' Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.