Jan 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a basket ahead of Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets during the first quarter of a game at Toyota Center on January 10, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
January 13, 2021
(Reuters) – Houston Rockets fans in China were able to watch them play for the first time in 15 months on Monday, the South China Morning Post reported, after a team official’s tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters in 2019 led to their games being blacked out.
Chinese state television had resumed airing National Basketball Association (NBA) games on its sports channel on Oct. 10, almost a year after broadcasts were halted following a tweet from then Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.
Tencent, which has exclusive internet streaming rights for the NBA in China, broadcast the Rockets’ 120-102 defeat to champions Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, with viewers in China catching the action early on Monday.
Houston enjoy significant support among basketball fans in China thanks to Yao Ming, who was drafted first overall by the Rockets in the 2002 Draft and played for them until 2011.
The report added that games involving the Philadelphia 76ers, who Morey joined as chief of basketball operations last year, are still not being shown in China.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)